Career Biography of Gaspard Clair FranÇois Marie Riche De Prony, Bridge-Builder, Educator and Scientist

Author: Bradley, Margaret
This volume tells the story, largely unknown, of a major figure in French engineering and engineering education through the Revolutionary, Napoleonic and Bourbon periods to the first years following the revolution of 1830. Prony is best-known today for creating a massive collection of mathematical tables in the 1790s, the largest ever compiled; and for the dynamometer for measuring the work-rate of waterwheels and related hydraulic machines. He was also a founder-professor of mathematics at the École Polytechnique, and director of the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, exercising much influence on the national body of civil engineers. This volume not only describes Prony's life and work, but presents selections (in French) of the many manuscripts Prony left behind. Prony is an example of the ingénieur savant, the scientist concerned with both teaching and research in engineering issues.


“. . . will appeal more to those interested in the history of education and the history of France, rather than mathematicians. However, it throws light on a little-known area of knowledge, and can consequently be welcomed.: - Mathematical Reviews

"With books such as this one, an enriched understanding will be gained of both French science and the great rise of professionalisation in science and engineering in the early 19th century when France was arguably the leading scientific country in the world." - I. Grattan-Guinness

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
1. Prony's life and scientific career
2. Prony and the École nationale de ponts et chaussées
3. École des ponts et chaussées 1814-1839
4. A revolution, a new school: Prony and the École polytechnique, 1794- 1814
5. Prony's association with the École polytechnique, 1814-1839
6. Prony's place in history
Appendix A: personal correspondence, letters and documents concerned with Prony's life and career; letters and documents directly related to Prony's work at the École des ponts et chaussées; manuscripts about the history of the École polytechnique
Appendix B: List of the Prony papers from the manuscript card catalog of the library of the École des ponts et chausées.
Appendix C: List of Prony's published works.
Appendix D: Published works to which reference is made in the text.