Hermite , Charles
(1822–1901) French mathematician
Hermite was born in Dieuze, France. His mathematical career was almost thwarted in his student days, since he was incapable of passing exams. Fortunately his talent had already been recognized and his examiners eventually let him scrape through. Hermite obtained a post at the Sorbonne where he was an influential teacher.
Hermite began his mathematical career with pioneering work on the theory of Abelian and transcendental functions, and he later used the theory of elliptic functions to give a solution of the general equations of the fifth degree – the quintic. One long-standing problem solved was proving that the number ‘e’ is transcendental (i.e., not a solution of a polynomial equation). He also introduced the techniques of analysis into number theory. His most famous work is in algebra, in the theory of Hermite polynomials. Although Hermite himself had little interest in applied mathematics this work turned out to be of great use in quantum mechanics.

Scientists. . 2011.

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