Laplace, Pierre Simon de (1749–1827)



  • French mathematician who in 1796 first proposed that the solar system had formed from a spinning gas cloud, the solar nebula, as is now generally believed. He also wrote a massive text, Celestial Mechanics, covering every aspect of the use of mathematics in astronomy as then known, especially gravitational theory and its astronomical applications, including the orbits of the Moon and of Jupiter and Saturn.