The Bernoullis (//; Swiss [bɛʁˈnʊli];) were a patrician family of merchants and scholars, originally from Antwerp, who resettled in Basel, Switzerland. The name is sometimes misspelled Bernou-ill-i and mispronounced accordingly. Over the course of three generations, the Bernoullis produced eight mathematically gifted academics who, between them, contributed to the foundations of applied mathematics and physics.
Leon Bernoulli was a doctor in Antwerp, which, at that time, was in the Spanish Netherlands. He died in 1561, and in 1570 his son, Jacob, emigrated to Frankfurt am Main to escape from the Spanish persecution of the Huguenots. Jacob’s grandson, a spice trader, also named Jacob, moved in 1620 to Basel, Switzerland, and was granted Swiss citizenship. His son, Niklaus (1623-1708), Leon’s great-great-grandson, married Margarethe Schönauer.
Niklaus had three sons, who became the foundation of the dynasty of mathematicians:
- Jacob Bernoulli (1654–1705; also known as James or Jacques) mathematician after whom Bernoulli numbers are named, and author of the early probability text Ars Conjectandi
- Nicolaus Bernoulli (1662–1716) painter and alderman of Basel
- Johann Bernoulli (1667–1748; also known as Jean) mathematician and early adopter of infinitesimal calculus
In addition to those mentioned above, the Bernoulli family produced many notable artists and scientists, in particular, a number of famous mathematicians in the 18th century:
- Nicolaus I Bernoulli (1687–1759) mathematician;
- Nicolaus II Bernoulli (1695–1726) mathematician; worked on curves, differential equations, and probability, and originator of the St. Petersburg paradox
- Daniel Bernoulli (1700–1782) developer of Bernoulli's principle and originator of the concept of expected utility for resolving the St. Petersburg paradox
- Johann II Bernoulli (1710–1790; also known as Jean) mathematician and physicist
- Johann III Bernoulli (1744–1807; also known as Jean) astronomer, geographer, and mathematician
- Jacob II Bernoulli (1759–1789; also known as Jacques) physicist and mathematician
- Hans Bernoulli, 20th century Swiss architect
Devices and ideas named for members of the family
- Mangold, Max (1990) Duden — Das Aussprachewörterbuch. 3. Auflage. Mannheim/Wien/Zürich, Dudenverlag.
- Talk page, section Pronunciation
- David Darling Encyclopedia of Science Bernoulli family
- Historic Lexicon of the Swiss, Bernoulli
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Bernoulli.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bernoulli.|
- Family tree at the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive.
- Bernoulli family in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.