Daniel Bernoulli

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Daniel Bernoulli (Groningen, 8 February 1700 – Basel, 8 March 1782) was a Dutch-Swiss mathematician and was one of the many prominent mathematicians in the Bernoulli family. He is particularly remembered for his applications of mathematics to mechanics, especially fluid mechanics, and for his pioneering work in probability and statistics. Bernoulli's work is still studied at length by many schools of science throughout the world.


Early life

Born in Groningen, in the Netherlands, the son of Johann Bernoulli, nephew of Jakob Bernoulli, and older brother of Johann II, Daniel Bernoulli has been described as "by far the ablest of the younger Bernoullis". [1] He is said to have had a bad relationship with his father. Upon both of them entering and tying for first place in a scientific contest at the University of Paris, Johann, unable to bear the "shame" of being compared as Daniel's equal, banned Daniel from his house. Johann Bernoulli also plagiarized some key ideas from Daniel's book Hydrodynamica in his own book Hydraulica which he backdated to before Hydrodynamica. Despite Daniel's attempts at reconciliation, his father carried the grudge until his death.[2]

When Daniel was seven, his younger brother Johann II Bernoulli was born. Around schooling age, his father, Johann Bernoulli, encouraged him to study business, there being poor rewards awaiting a mathematician. However, Daniel refused, because he wanted to study mathematics. He later gave in to his father's wish and studied business. His father then asked him to study in medicine, and Daniel agreed under the condition that his father would teach him mathematics privately, which they continued for some time.[2]

He was a contemporary and close friend of Leonhard Euler. He went to St. Petersburg in 1724 as professor of mathematics, but was unhappy there, and a temporary illness in 1733 gave him an excuse for leaving.[2] He returned to the University of Basel, where he successively held the chairs of medicine, metaphysics and natural philosophy until his death.[3]

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