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Adrien-Marie Legendre
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Mathematician
    (September 18, 1752-January 9, 1833)
    Born in Paris, France
    Contributed to elliptic functions and number theory
    Developed the least squares method of regression analysis
    Wrote ‘Elements of Geometry’ (1794), ‘New Methods for the Determination of Comet Orbits’ (1806), and ‘Exercises in Integral Calculus’ (three volume, 1811-17)
    Namesake for Legendre polynomials and the Legendre transformation
    He feuded with Carl Gauss over who first came up with the least squares method.
    He made several unsuccessful attempts to prove the parallel postulate (only one line parallel to another line can be drawn through a given point), and refused to accept the development of non-Euclidean geometry by Nikolai Lobachevsky.
    The only portrait of him made during his lifetime is a caricature (one of a series of members of the Institut de France by artist Julien-Leopold Boilly).
    Until the rediscovery of Boilly’s drawing in 2005, articles about him were ususally illustrated with a portrait of Louis Legendre, an obscure politician who was no relation.
    He was part of the committee that developed the metric system.
    His ‘Elements of Geometry,’ which rearranged and simplified Euclid’s ‘Elements,’ became a standard textbook for a century.
    He was made an officer of the Legion of Honor (1831).

Credit: C. Fishel


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