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Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Fourier was a French mathematician who exerted a strong influence on mathematical physics He established the partial differential equation governing heat diffusion and solved it by using infinite series of trigonometric functions Fouriers work provided the impetus for later work on trigonometric series and the theory of functions of a real variable Jean Joseph Fourier was born on March 21 1768 in ancient town of Auxurre France He was the ninth child of his father Joseph Fouriers second marriage to Edmie Fourier However just like Joseph Fouriers first wife Edmie Fourier ended her life at an early age of forty-two on October 26 1777 Three days later distraught by his wifes death Joseph Fourier abandoned his two youngest children aged three and four years to the Foundling Hospital Jean Joseph was therefore left an orphan Fortunately for Fourier his parents death seem to have caused little interference with his education He first attended the local military school conducted by the Benedictine monks in 1780 He quickly distinguished himself by the happy ease and quickness of his mind being said always to have been at the top of the class At about age 13 he grew a great passion for mathematics He devoted long hours to the study of mathematics in some sort of store room lighting the candles he often collected Fourier began his work of Thorie analytique de la chaleur in 1807 and completed in 1822 However even before this major contribution to mathematical physics he already led a varied interesting life In the period of 1793 to 1794 he played a leading part in the Revolution in his native town of Auxerre He was imprisoned twice and was able to escape with his life In Egypt under successive commanders in chief Fourier filled the most important civilian administrative positions During his expedition in Egypt is when he contributed substantially to the compilation and publication of the influential Description de lgypte
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