At exactly the same time, mathematician Jean d'Alembert
and philosopher Denis Diderot proposed with their Encyclopaedia a prodigious display of the science and technologies of their time, with the same generous ambition of educating and emancipating mankind.
This was not simply because some intellectuals kept a distance from le beau monde, as Jean d'Alembert
urged them to do in his Essai sur la societe des gens de lettres et des grands (1753).
The history of the wave equation is related to such names as Jean d'Alembert
, Leonhard Euler, Daniel Bernoulli, Luigi Lagrange and Joseph Fourier.
The introduction starts with the notion of the family as a "civil society," attributed to Jean D'Alembert
, though it figures prominently in the seminal book by Jean Bodin.
All of these topics were addressed in their Encyclopedie (published 1751 onwards) in articles by Denis Diderot (1713-84), Etienne Bonnot de Condillac (1715-80), Jean D'Alembert
(1717-83), Baron D'Holbach (1723-89), and Jean-Francois Marmontel (1723-99), in which they all eagerly sought a rational substitute for religion.
. Discours preliminaire des editeurs de 1751 et articles de l' "Encyclopedie." Ed.
Over the next half-century he befriends the leading figures of the Enlightenment: the mathematician Jean d'Alembert
, who introduces him to Denis Diderot; the Scottish expatriate David Hume; the painter Francois Boucher; Madame de Pompadour, mistress to Louis XV; and the towering figure of the age, Voltaire.