BIOGRAPHY

Google Doodle Celebrates French Natural Philosopher Émilie du Châtelet

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emilie du chatelet

The Google Doodle for today (December 17, 2021) honors Émilie du Châtelet, a 315-year-old French mathematician, physicist, translator, and philosopher whose contributions to Newtonian theory and goal to make scientific literature more accessible paved the way for modern physics.

Doodles are the amusing, unexpected, and occasionally spontaneous modifications to the Google logo that are produced to commemorate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of notable artists, pioneers, and scientists.

Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise du Châtelet was a French noblewoman who lived from 17 December 1706 to 1749.

emilie du chatelet
image credit: bbc.co.uk

Emilie du Chatelet’s most recognized achievement is her translation of and commentary on Isaac Newton’s 1687 book Principia containing basic laws of physics. The translation, published posthumously in 1756, is still regarded as the standard French translation till today.

Emilie du Chatelet’s philosophical magnum opus, Institutions de Physique (Paris, 1740, first edition), or Foundations of Physics, circulated widely, generated heated debates, and was republished and translated into several other languages within two years of its original publication.

Emilie du Chatelet’s ideas were posthumously heavily represented in the most famous text of the French Enlightenment, the Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert, first published shortly after her death. Numerous biographies, books and plays have been written about her life and work in the two centuries since her death.

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