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French engineer, significant to the development of the science of hydraulics and ballistics.

Biographical Information

Name: Bernard Forest de Bélidor
Born in 1698 in , Spain, Europe
Deceased on 8 September 1761 in , Ile-de-France, France, Europe

Short Biography of Bernard Forest de Bélidor

Bélidor’s father, Spanish cavalry officer Jean- Baptiste Forest de Bélidor, and his mother, Marie Hébert, both died when he was just five months old. Bernard Forest de Bélidor was therefore brought up by his godfather, De Fossiébourg, an artillery officer. Up until 1718, the young Bélidor assisted in the Meridian measurements between Paris and the English Channel coast led by Jacques Cassini and Philippe de La Hire, the results of which were published in 1720. The Duke of Orléans became aware of Bélidor’s talents and set him up as professor of mathematics at the newly founded Artillery Academy in La Fère. During this period he published manuals entitled La science des ingénieurs and Architecture hydraulique, the very first civil engineering textbooks of the modern age, and which were to remain influential until the early 19th century. Bélidor’s manuals inspired Lazare Carnot, Coulomb, Poncelet and Navier – the latter republished them with a comprehensive, critical commentary [Bélidor, 1813; 1819].

Main Contributions to Structural Analysis

  • La science des ingénieurs dans la conduite des travaux de fortification et d’architecture civile [1729];
  • Architecture hydraulique [1737–53]

Source: Kurrer, Karl-Eugen The History of the Theory of Structures, Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn Verlag für Architektur und technische Wissenschaften GmbH, Berlin (Deutschland), ISBN 3-433-01838-3, 2008; p. 715


  1. Bélidor, Bernard Forest de (1739): Architecture hydraulique. ou l'Art de conduire, d'élever et de ménager les eaux pour les différens besoins de la vie. Paris (France).
  2. Bélidor, Bernard Forest de (1731): Le bombardier françois. Paris (France).
  3. Bélidor, Bernard Forest de (1734): La science des ingénieurs dans la conduite des travaux des fortifications et des bâtiments civils. Paris (France).
  4. de Bélidor, Bernard Forest (1770): Architecture hydraulique. ou l'art de diriger les eaux de la mer et des rivières à l'avantage de la défense des places, du commerce et de l'agriculture. Ch.-A. Jombert, Paris (France).

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