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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index P > Louis Poinsot Quotes

Louis Poinsot
(3 Jan 1777 - 5 Dec 1859)

French mathematician and physicist whose name is one of 72 scientists inscribed on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. In 1803, barely age 26, he published his first famous work, Elιments de statique (Elements of Statics). Poisot invented geometrical mechanics, by which a system of forces acting on a rigid body could be resolved into a single force and a couple.

Science Quotes by Louis Poinsot (2 quotes)

Everyone makes for himself a clear idea of the motion of a point, that is to say, of the motion of a corpuscle which one supposes to be infinitely small, and which one reduces by thought in some way to a mathematical point.
— Louis Poinsot
Thιorie Nouvelle de la Rotation des Corps (1834). As translated by Charles Thomas Whitley in Outlines of a New Theory of Rotatory Motion (1834), 1.
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For we may remark generally of our mathematical researches, that these auxiliary quantities, these long and difficult calculations into which we are often drawn, are almost always proofs that we have not in the beginning considered the objects themselves so thoroughly and directly as their nature requires, since all is abridged and simplified, as soon as we place ourselves in a right point of view.
— Louis Poinsot
In Thιorie Nouvelle de la Rotation des Corps (1834). As translated by Charles Thomas Whitley in Outlines of a New Theory of Rotatory Motion (1834), 4.
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Quotes by others about Louis Poinsot (1)

Accordingly, we find Euler and D'Alembert devoting their talent and their patience to the establishment of the laws of rotation of the solid bodies. Lagrange has incorporated his own analysis of the problem with his general treatment of mechanics, and since his time M. Poinsτt has brought the subject under the power of a more searching analysis than that of the calculus, in which ideas take the place of symbols, and intelligent propositions supersede equations.
J. C. Maxwell on Louis Poinsτt (1777-1859) in 'On a Dynamical Top' (1857). In W. D. Niven (ed.), The Scientific Papers of James Clerk Maxwell (1890), Vol. 1, 248.
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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