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Daniel Bernoulli

Daniel Bernoulli biography
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Daniel Bernoulli biography

Daniel Bernoulli (January 29, 1700 – March 17, 1782) mathematician, statistician, physicist, and physician. He was born in Groningen, Holland. His father, Johann Bernoulli, was a researcher who made important contributions to the early development of calculus. The family had to flee to the Netherlands due to the persecution of the Huguenots. After a brief period in Frankfurt, they settled in Basel, Switzerland. Bernoulli was always a very intelligent and curious young man. In high school, he achieved notable qualifications and mastered three languages, upon graduation he entered the university to study medicine and obtained his degree in 1721 thanks to his thesis on breathing where he assumed the mechanistic approach that prevailed at the time and was closer of his intellectual inclinations.

As soon as he graduated he tried to enter as a professor at the University of Basel but was rejected. Subsequently, Daniel was invited to work at the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences, as a professor of mathematics. In this place, he met the great mathematician Leonhard Euler and then became his collaborator. He corresponded with the Prussian mathematician Christian Goldbach, most of the correspondence was about the lessons learned with his father, dazzled by the level of Bernoulli, decided to publish the letters written by Daniel.

From 1731 he began research on the problems of life and health from the statistics. Two years later he returned to Basel where he served as professor of anatomy, botany, philosophy, and physics. Simultaneously, he advanced important hydrodynamic studies, for Bernoulli this was one of the most important properties of fluid flow, pressure, density, and velocity.

From these studies arose The Bernoulli Principle or the Dynamic Theory of fluids. In his theory, he gave a masterly explanation about the pressure of the gas on the walls of a container. Because of the above, he obtained a remarkable amount of prizes and recognition between 1725 and 1749. He also obtained many more for his studies in astronomy, gravity, tides, magnetism, ocean currents and the behavior of a boat in the sea. It is notorious that he maintained a bad relationship with his father from 1734, the year in which both shared the annual prize of the Academy of Sciences of Paris.

Johann came to expel him from his home and also published a book called Hydraulica in which he tried to attribute the discoveries of his son in this matter. His popularity and intelligence earned him a place at the University of Basel, in the chair that his father had occupied. During this period as a professor, he published 86 papers and won 10 prizes from the Paris Academy of Sciences. Later he was a member of the Royal Society from May 3, 1750. He always thought a lot about students who could not access education due to lack of resources, for that reason he advanced the construction of a pension for the shelter of students without resources, This was maintained until the end of his days with his money. In addition, while he was rector of the University of Basel, in 1744 and 1756.

He was very committed to the development of the University. He made monetary donations on several occasions for laboratory equipment and acquisition of new titles in the Library. His prestige grew considerably both as a lecturer in Theoretical Physics and especially for his uncommon classes of Experimental Physics. Normally his conferences were attended by more than one hundred participants, from different corners of Europe.

He is considered one of the precursors of the kinetic theory of gases. He proposed a model of the structure of gases, in which he assumed that atoms in continuous motion collided with each other and with the walls of the container that contains them; that approach was the starting point of the kinetic theory of gases. Bernoulli also analyzed the problem of analyzing the errors in the observations. Bernoulli showed the insufficiency of the reasoning handled at that time and advised to use a method that can be considered an antecedent to the method of least squares reformulated later by Gauss.

At present, and based on the studies of his texts, it is noticed that he was able to find in the Mathematical Analysis the means to extract from the calculations all the details of the phenomena. Daniel Bernoulli suffered a cardiac arrest on March 17, 1782, in Basel, this episode did not allow him to stay alive. At his funeral he was dismissed by hundreds of colleagues and relatives at a solemn ceremony of the Academy of Sciences of Paris organized by the philosopher and geometer Marqués de Condorcet, who then served as Perpetual Secretary, he also read a funeral eulogy that collects the merits of his work and also his characteristics as a true man of science.

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