Louis Poinsot

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Poinsot, Louis


Born Jan. 3, 1777, in Paris; died there Dec. 5, 1859. French mathematician and specialist in mechanics. Member of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1813).

Poinsot graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris in 1797 and became a professor there in 1809. During the July monarchy, he worked in the Ministry of Public Education; in 1846 he was made a peer of France, and in 1852 a senator. Poinsot’s earliest studies dealt with the theory of star-shaped regular polyhedrons. In 1803, Poinsot published Les Eléments de statique (Fundamentals of Statics), in which he applied the geometric methods he had developed to the study of the equilibrium of solids and of systems of solids. In 1834 he constructed a theory to describe the rotation of a solid about a fixed point. Poinsot was the first to introduce the concept of an ellipsoid of revolution.


Les Eléments de statique. Paris, 1803.
Théorie nouvelle de la rotations des corps, 8th ed. Paris, 1834.
In Russian translation:
Nachala statiki. Moscow-Petrograd, 1920.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.