Gaspard Monge (1746-1818)

French mathematician. Born on 9 May 1746 in Beaune. At the age of 16 Monge became a teacher of physics at the Collège de la Trinité in Lyons, where he had studied. In 1764 he became a draughtsman and technician at the École Royale du Génie at Mézières, but devoted his spare time to geometrical research.

In 1768 he was appointed Professor of Mathematics at Mézières and in 1771, Professor of Physics. In 1780 Monge was elected to the Academy of Sciences. In 1796 Monge began a close friendship with Napoleon, who later made him a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour, President of the senate and the Count of Péluse. Following the restoration of the monarchy in 1815, Monge was discredited and stripped of his honours.

He is most celebrated for his work in modern descriptive geometry, for which he developed the basic principles, and his application of analysis to infinitesimal geometry. He was one of the founders of the École Polytechnique, where he also served as a professor of descriptive geometry. His most important works include the Géométrie Descriptive (1799) and Application de l'analyse à la géométrie (4th ed. 1819), which earned him the accolade of the father of differential geometry.

He died in Paris on 28 July 1818.