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L'Hospital, Guillaume-François-Antoine de

1. Dates
Born: France, 1661
Died: France, 2 Feb. 1704
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 43
2. Father
Occupation: Aristocrat, Soldier
Anne de l'Hospital, lieutenant general of the armies of the king and squire of Gaston, Duke of Orléans. Guillaume's mother, Elisabeth, was the daughter of Claude Gobelin, administrator (intendant) of the armies of the king and a counsellor of state. The l'Hospitals were an old aristocratic family with distinguished service to the king since 1488.
Although I do not have a definite statement, I do not see how one can avoid the conclusion the l'Hospital grew up in wealthy circumstances.
3. Nationality
Birth: French
Career: French
Death: French
4. Education
Schooling: No University
As soon as he was old enough to bear arms, he obtained a commission of captain in the cavalry, but he had already, by that time, acquired a passion for mathematics from his tutor.
In 1692, Jean Bernoulli visited Paris. It is not clear that he taught l'Hospital, but after Bernoulli had been there a few months, l'Hospital returned to Ourques, Touraine, embued with the new mathematics.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic (assumed)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Mathematics
His fame was based on his book Analyse des infiniment petits pour l'intelligence des lignes courbes (1696), the first textbook of the differential calculus. At his death he left the completed manuscript of a second book, Traité analytique, which was published in 1720.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Personal Means
He served for a time as a cavalry officer but resigned from the army. From that time onwards he devoted himself entirely to mathematics. He had an estate that must have supported him. He had the titles of Marquis de Sainte-Mesme and Comte d'Entremont. Fontenelle also calls him Seigneur d'Ourques, la Chaise, le Bréau, et autres lieux.
8. Patronage
Type: Court Official
L'Hospital was named premier titulaire honorary member of the Académie by Louis XIV.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: None
10. Scientific Societies
Membership: Académie Royal des Sciences
1693, académicien géomètre.
1699, honorary member of the Académie.
1702 & 04, vice president of the Académie.
Correspondence with Leibniz, with Jean Bernoulli, and with Huygens. According to Fontenelle it was he who introduced Huygens to the new calculus.
  1. Fontenelle, Eloge, in the Histoire de l'Académie des Sciences for 1704, p. 154-68.
  2. J.E.Montucla, Histoire des mathématiques, 2, (Paris, 1758), 396- 8. QA21.M8
  3. Index biographique de l'Académie des Sciences, pp. 318-19.
  4. Q46.A14 1954.
  5. Nouvelle biographie générale, 31, 101-2.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

©1995 Al Van Helden
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