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Montmort, Pierre Remond de

1. Dates
Born: Paris, 27 Oct. 1678
Died: Paris, 7 Oct. 1719
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 41
2. Father
Occupation: Aristocrat
François Reymond, Ecuyer, Sieur de Breviande. A noble family. His father wanted him to become a magistrate.
Montmort received a substantial inheritance on which he lived. The family had to have been wealthy.
3. Nationality
Birth: French
Career: French
Death: French
4. Education
Schooling: No University
On the advice of his father he studied law, but tired of it and ran away to England. He toured extensively there and in Germany. After he returned to France in 1699, he began to study Cartesian physics and philosophy under Nicolas Malebranche. He and a young mathematician, Francois Nicole, taught themselves the new mathematics over a period of three years. He learned the principles of algebra and geometry from Carré and Guisnée.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic
He became a canon at Notre Dame de Paris about 1700, but later gave up his clerical office in 1706.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Mathematics
His book on probability, Essay d'analyse sur les jeux de hazard, (Paris, 1708), made his reputation among scientists and led to a fruitful collaboration with Nikolaus I Bernoulli. The greatest value of this book lay perhaps not in its solutions but in its systematic setting out of problems about games.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Personal Means
Secondary: Church Life
From his father he had a substantial inheritance in 1699, which he did not waste frivolously. Later he brought an estate at Montmort, and married Mademoiselle de Romicourt, the niece of the Duchess of Angouleme (who was the widow of the illegitimate son of Charles IX).
His brother persuaded him to become a canon at Notre Dame de Paris about 1700, but later he gave up his office to get married. Before his marriage, Montmort gave away 25,000 écus to charity, possibly the income from the canonry.
8. Patronage
Type: None
There were, in Montmort's life, relations and financial affairs pertaining to the nobility. I'll list the ones we found, but they do not sound like patronage to me.
While a young man, he stayed in Germany with M. de Chamois, plenipotentiary of France to the Diet of Ratisbon, who was some relation.
In 1710, the Duchess of Angouleme came to live at the Château de Montmort after selling her property to settle her affairs. She died three years later. There appear to have been some legal processes regarding the testament she left Montmort, and it is not clear how lucrative it was. Clearly this was all related to Montmort's marriage.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: None
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: Académie Royal des Sciences, 1716-1719; Royal Society, 1715-1719
He was elected fellow of the Royal Society when he was visiting London in 1715. The Académie made him an associate member the following year (he could not be granted full membership because he did not reside in Paris).
Montmort was taught by Malebranche and worked with Nicole. Nicolas Bernoulli once spent three months at his estate. Montmort corresponded with Leibniz, Halley, Craig, Taylor, Hermann, and Poleni.
  1. "Eloge de Montmort," Histoire de l'Académie royale des sciences pour l'année 1719, (Paris, 1721), pp. 81-93.
  2. Nouvelle biographie générale, 36, 369-71.
  3. Index biografique (Académie des sciences), p. 367.
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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