Gabriel Lamé

French mathematician

Biographical Information

Name: Gabriel Lamé
Born on 22 July 1795 in , Indre-et-Loire (37), Centre-Val de Loire, France, Europe
Deceased on 1 May 1870 in , Ile-de-France, France, Europe

Notes & Comments

Short biography of Gabriel Lamé

Gabriel Lamé studied at the École Polytechnique and the École des Mines from 1813 to 1820.Together with his friend Clapeyron, Lamé worked as an engineer and scientist in St. Petersburg, where he was head of the Institute of Engineers of Ways of Communication and taught analysis, mechanics, physics and chemistry. Both he and Clapeyron provided advice for important building projects in and around St. Petersburg. Following the French July Revolution of 1830, Lamé and Clapeyron left Russia because the tsarist government had taken the anti-revolutionary side. During the 1830s Lamé acted as a consulting engineer for railways but he was not able to develop his mathematical talents École Polytechnique (1831), member of the Académie des Sciences (1843), examiner (1844) and professor (1851–62) of mathematical physics and probability theory at the University of Paris. Lamé excelled in elastic theory thanks to fundamental contributions such as the introduction of curvilinear coordinates, the stress ellipsoid, and the primary equations and constants of elastic theory. His book Leçons sur la théorie mathematique de l'élasticité des corps solides (1852) the first monograph on elastic theory rounded off the constitution phase of mathematical elastic theory. Lamé tried to find a synthesis between the theories of heat, electricity and light on the basis of the ether theory. He called the elastic medium ether “le véritable roi de la nature physique” [Lamé, 1861] and used elastic theory as his reference point in his attempt to find a synthesis. Maxwell managed to achieve a synthesis of the theories of electricity and light in his electrodynamics, but even he started with the ether hypothesis. Einstein's Theory of Relativity finally displaced ether from the throne of physics and enthroned the field concept.

Main contributions to structural analysis:

Mémoire sur la stabilité des voûtes [1823]; Mémoire sur la construction des polygones funiculaires [1828]; Mémoire sur l'équilibre intérieur des corps solides homogènes [1833]; Mémoire sur la propagation de la chaleur dans les polyèdres, et principalement dans le prisme triangulaire régulier [1833/1]; Mémoire sur les lois de l'équilibre de l'éther dans les corps diaphanes [1833/2]; Mémoire sur les lois de l'équilibre du fluide éthéré [1834]; Mémoire sur le principe général de la Physique [1842]; Leçons sur la théorie mathematique de l'elasticité des corps solides [1852]; Course de physique mathématique rationelle. Discours préliminaire [1861]

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. 743/744

Structures and Projects

Participation in the following structures & large-scale projects:



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