Abraham de Moivre | Biography
Abraham de Moivre was an 18th-century mathematician known for his contributions to the fields of probability theory and trigonometry. Born in France in 1667, de Moivre lived a long and productive life, during which he made numerous important contributions to mathematics and other areas of science.
De Moivre’s early life was marked by turmoil and uncertainty. He was born into a Protestant family in Vitry-le-François, a small town in northeastern France. At the time, France was embroiled in a series of religious conflicts, and Protestants faced significant persecution and discrimination. When de Moivre was just 11 years old, his family fled to England to escape religious persecution.
Despite the difficulties he faced early in life, de Moivre proved to be a gifted mathematician. He began studying mathematics under the tutelage of the prominent mathematician James Hodgson, and he quickly developed a keen interest in the subject. De Moivre’s abilities were soon recognized by others in the field, and he was appointed to the Royal Society in 1697.
Over the course of his long and productive career, de Moivre made numerous contributions to mathematics and other fields. He is perhaps best known for his work on probability theory, where he made significant contributions to the development of the normal distribution and other important statistical concepts. He also made important contributions to trigonometry, including the development of a method for finding the roots of complex numbers.
In addition to his work in mathematics, de Moivre was also interested in other areas of science, including astronomy and physics. He corresponded with many of the leading scientists of his day, including Isaac Newton, with whom he had a particularly close relationship.
Abraham de Moivre Calculated the Date of His Own Death
Despite his many accomplishments, de Moivre is perhaps best known for a rather macabre achievement: he calculated the date of his own death. According to legend, de Moivre believed that he would die on November 27, 1754, and he began making preparations for his own demise well in advance of that date.
Although the story of de Moivre’s death prediction is often repeated, it is not entirely clear whether it is true. Some historians have suggested that the story may have been invented after de Moivre’s death, and that he may never have actually made such a prediction. Nevertheless, the story has become a part of de Moivre’s legend, and it is often cited as an example of his brilliant and unconventional thinking.
In recognition of his many contributions to mathematics and other fields, de Moivre was awarded numerous honors and accolades over the course of his life. He was appointed to the Royal Society in 1697, and he was later awarded the prestigious Copley Medal for his work on probability theory. He was also elected to the French Academy of Sciences, and he was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government.
Despite the many honors he received, de Moivre remained modest and unassuming throughout his life. He lived a simple and frugal existence, and he was known for his kindness and generosity towards others. He died on November 27, 1754, the same day he had supposedly predicted many years earlier.
Abraham de Moivre’s life and work serve as a reminder of the power of mathematics to shape and transform our understanding of the world around us. He was a brilliant and innovative thinker who made important contributions to fields ranging from probability theory to trigonometry to astronomy. And although his prediction of his own death may be the most famous story associated with him, it is his numerous accomplishments and contributions to the world of mathematics that truly set him apart as a unique and important figure in the history of science.