Jean Gaston Darboux

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Jean-Gaston Darboux
Jean-Gaston Darboux
Born (1842-08-14)14 August 1842
Nîmes, France
Died 23 February 1917(1917-02-23) (aged 74)
Paris, France
Alma mater Ecole Normale Supérieure (in Paris)
Awards Sylvester Medal (1916)
Scientific career
Thesis Sur les surfaces orthogonales[1] (1866)
Doctoral advisor Michel Chasles[1]
Doctoral students Émile Borel
Élie Cartan
Édouard Goursat
Émile Picard
Thomas Stieltjes
Gheorghe Țițeica
Stanisław Zaremba

Jean-Gaston Darboux FAS MIF FRS FRSE (14 August 1842 – 23 February 1917) was a French mathematician.[2]


According to his birth certificate, he was born in Nîmes in France on 14 August 1842, at 1 am. However, probably due to the midnight birth, Darboux himself usually reported his own birthday as 13 August, e.g. in his filled form for Légion d'Honneur.

He studied at the Nîmes Lycée and the Montpellier Lycée before being accepted at the École normale supérieure in 1861,[3] and received his Ph.D. there in 1866. His thesis, written under the direction of Michel Chasles, was titled Sur les surfaces orthogonales. During his studies at the ENS, he also took lectures in Sorbonne University and Collège de France.

In 1870, he co-founded the journal Bulletin des sciences mathématiques et astronomiques, called "Darboux's Journal" by his contemporary mathematicians.

In 1872, he married the Beauvaisian milliner Amélie Célina Carbonnier (1848-1911), daughter of Charles Louis Carbonnier, tailor, and Marie Victorine Anastase Hènocq. He and Célina had two children, Jean-Gaston (1870-1921), who was born at the time of the Siege of Paris and later became a marine zoologist at the Faculty of Science in Marseille, and Anaïs Berthe Lucie (1873-1970). [4]

He participated in the foundation of the École normale supérieure de jeunes filles in 1880, an institute that aimed at training female educators and ran parallel to the École normale supérieure on rue d'Ulm. Its first director was Julie Favre.[5]

In 1884, Darboux was elected to the Académie des Sciences.

Darboux made several important contributions to geometry and mathematical analysis (see, for example, linear PDEs). He was a biographer of Henri Poincaré and he edited the Selected Works of Joseph Fourier.

Among his students were Émile Borel, Élie Cartan, Émile Picard, Gheorghe Țițeica and Stanisław Zaremba.

Darboux's contribution to the differential geometry of surfaces appears in the four-volume collection of studies he published between 1887 and 1896; see links below for access to these texts.

In 1900, he was appointed the Academy's permanent secretary of its Mathematics section.

In 1902, he was elected to the Royal Society; in 1916, he received the Sylvester Medal from the Society. In 1908, he was a plenary speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Rome.[6]

Named in his honour[edit]

There are many things named after him:


1887–96. Leçons sur la théorie générale des surfaces et les applications géométriques du calcul infinitésimal. Gauthier-Villars:

1898. Leçons sur les systèmes orthogonaux et les coordonnées curvilignes. Tome I. Gauthier-Villars.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Jean Gaston Darboux at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ Eisenhart, Luther P. (1918). "Darboux's contribution to geometry". Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society. 24 (5): 227–237. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1918-03052-8. MR 1560051.
  3. ^ "Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh" (PDF).
  4. ^ Roland Brasseur – Dictionnaire des professeurs de mathématiques en classe de mathématiques spéciales – 7 mai 2015
  5. ^ Biographie de Gaston Darboux by Marianne Durand at Lycée Professionnel Gaston Darboux
  6. ^ "ICM Plenary and Invited Speakers since 1897". International Congress of Mathematicians.
  7. ^ Darboux Cubic -- from Wolfram MathWorld at
  8. ^ Darboux Problem -- from Wolfram MathWorld at
  9. ^ Goursat Problem -- from Wolfram MathWorld at
  10. ^ Darboux Vector -- from Wolfram MathWorld at
  11. ^ Darboux's Formula -- from Wolfram MathWorld at
  12. ^ Christoffel-Darboux Identity -- from Wolfram MathWorld at
  13. ^ Christoffel-Darboux Formula -- from Wolfram MathWorld at
  14. ^ Euler-Darboux Equation -- from Wolfram MathWorld at
  15. ^ Euler-Poisson-Darboux Equation -- from Wolfram MathWorld at
  16. ^ Lovett, Edgar O. (1899). "Review: Leçons sur les Systèmes Orthogonaux et les Coordonnées Curvilignes, Tome I, by Gaston Darboux". Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society. 5 (4): 185–202. doi:10.1090/s0002-9904-1899-00584-6.


  • "Darboux, Jean-Gaston". Biographical Dictionary of Mathematicians. Charles Scribner's Sons. 1991.
  • Lebon, Ernest (1910). Gaston Darboux. Gauthier-Villars.
  • Fourier, Joseph (1888–1890). Œuvres de Fourier. Paris: Gauthier-Villars. ISBN 2-05-100578-8.

External links[edit]