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Painlevé, Paul(pōl păNləvā`), 1863–1933, French statesman and mathematician. A mathematical prodigy when a child, he entered on a career devoted to science. He was a professor at the Sorbonne and the École Polytechnique when the Dreyfus Affair aroused his interest in politics. He entered on his political career as a leftist deputy (1910). In World War I he held several cabinet posts and was briefly premier in 1917. He was premier once more in 1925, succeeding Herriot, and was minister of war (1925–29) and minister of aviation (1930–31, 1932–33). In mathematics, Painlevé ranked among the best minds of his time; his contribution was particularly important in the field of differential equations. He published numerous writings on mathematics, astronomy, mechanics, philosophy, and politics.
Born Dec. 5, 1863, in Paris; died there Oct. 29, 1933. French mathematician and state and political figure.
Painlevé received his doctorate in mathematics in 1887 and was elected a member of the Académie des Sciences in 1900. His mathematical studies deal with the theory of differential equations. His research on the behavior of integrals of differential equations in the neighborhood of singular points is especially well known.
In 1910, Painlevé was elected to the Chamber of Deputies. From 1915 to 1916 he was minister of public instruction and inventions; from March to November 1917, minister of war; and from September to November 1917, prime minister. In 1924, as leader of the republican-socialists, he helped the leftist coalition, or Cartel de Gauches, come to power. From 1924 to 1925 he was president of the Chamber of Deputies. In 1925 he was prime minister (April-November), minister of war (April-October), and minister of finance (October-November). He was minister of war from 1925 to 1929 and minister of air in 1930–31 and 1932–33. As prime minister and minister of war, Painlevé was involved in the suppression of the liberation uprisings of the peoples of Syria and Morocco between 1925 and 1927.