On this day (September 7), 1707, the French naturalist, writer, mathematician and astronomer Georges-Louis Leclerc, Count of Buffon, was born in Montbard.
Georges attended Godrans Jesuit College in Dijon from the age of ten onwards. From 1723 to 1726 he studied law at Dijon, a prerequisite for continuing the family tradition in civil service. In 1728, Georges left Dijon to study mathematics and medicine at the University of Angers in France.
In 1732 he moved to Paris , where he met Voltaire and other intellectuals. He first made his mark in the field of mathematics and, in his Sur le jeu de franc-carreau ( About the fair square game ), introduced the calculusdifferential and integral in the theory of probability ; the problem of Buffon's needle at probability theory is named after him.
In 1734 he was admitted to the French Academy of Sciences . During this period he corresponded with the Swiss mathematician Gabriel Cramer .
In 1739 he was appointed director of the Parisian Jardin du Roi with the help of Maurepas; he held this position until the end of his life. Buffon was instrumental in transforming the Jardin du Roi into a major research center and museum.
De Buffon Natural history, general and particulière (1749- 1788: in 36 volumes; a further volume based on his notes appeared in 1789) was originally intended to cover the three "kingdoms" of nature, but the Natural History ended up being limited to the animal and mineral kingdoms, and the animals covered were just birds and quadrupeds.
Charles Darwin wrote in his preliminary historical sketch added to the third edition of On the Origin of Species : "Skipping over ... Buffon, with whose writings I am not familiar." Then, starting with the fourth edition, he amended this to say that "the first author who in modern times has treated it [evolution] in a scientific spirit was Buffon. But as his views fluctuated much in different periods, and as he I do not go into the causes or means of the transformation of species, I do not need to go into details here ".
Buffon's paradox is that, according to Ernst Mayr :
He was not an evolutionary biologist, but he was the father of evolutionism. He was the first person to discuss a large number of evolutionary problems, problems that before Buffon had not been raised by anyone. .. brought them to the attention of the scientific world.
Except for Aristotle and Darwin, no other student of organisms [whole animals and plants] has had a more far-reaching influence.
He brought the idea of evolution into the realm of science. He developed a concept of a "unit of type," a precursor to anatomy compared . More than anyone else, he was responsible for the acceptance of a long-term scale for earth's history He was one of the first to hint that you inherit from your parents, in a description based on similarities between elephants and mammoths. And yet it hampered evolution by its frequent endorsement of the immutability of species. It provided a species criterion, fertility among members of a species, once thought impregnable.
As a curiosity, thanks to his talent as a writer, he was invited to join the second great academy in Paris, the Académie française in 1753 and then in 1768 he was elected to the American Philosophical Society.
- the king wants to see him
- I don't know, tell him a joke
- I don't know how to explain jokes
- I don't know how to dance
- I'm not that kind of buffoon
- am I the Count of Buffón?