Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot(redirected from Lazare Carnot)
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Carnot, Lazare Nicolas Marguerite
Born May 13, 1753, in Nolay; died Aug. 2, 1823, in Magdeburg. French statesman and military figure, mathematician. Member of the Institut de France (1796). Member of the Legislative Assembly of 1791–92 and of the Convention of 1792–95.
During the Jacobin dictatorship, Carnot was a member of the Committee of Public Safety (from 1793). He emerged as a major military organizer of the struggle against the interventionists and royalists; contemporaries called him the “organizer of victory.” During the Thermidorian reaction, in July 1794, he opposed M. Robespierre. From 1795 to 1797, Carnot was a member of the Directory. After the coup of 18 Fructidor, he fled abroad. In 1800 he returned to France. From April to August 1800, he was minister of war. In March 1802 he became a member of the Tribunate. Carnot voted against the Empire, although he remained a supporter of Napoleon. During the Hundred Days in 1815, he was minister of the interior in Napoleon’s government; he received the title of count. After the second restoration of the Bourbons, he was exiled from France in 1815.
Carnot’s mathematical works deal with analysis and geometry. In his Reflections on the Metaphysics of the Calculus of Infinitely Small Numbers (1797), Carnot argued in favor of the correctness of the results of this calculus. Carnot’s study of various means of substantiating analysis, including the methods of exhaustion, prime numbers, and limits, as well as his critique of Lagrange’s theory of analytic functions, partially prepared the way for the reform of analysis in the early 19th century. In his works On the Correlation of Geometric Figures (1801), Position Geometry (1803), and Theory of Transversals (1806), Carnot appeared as the forerunner of J. Poncelet and the other creators of projective geometry. Carnot also wrote a number of works on applied mechanics (Experiments on Machines in General, 1783) and on fortification (On the Defense of Fortresses, vols. 1–3, 1810).
WORKSIn Russian translation:
Razmyshleniia o metafizike ischisleniia beskonechno malykh, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936. (Contains bibliography.)