Monday, May 4, 2009

Bernoulli, Daniel (1700-1782),

Dutch-born Swiss scientist, who discovered the basic principles of fluid behaviour. He was the son of Johann Bernoulli and the nephew of Jakob Bernoulli, both of whom made major contributions to the early development of calculus.

Bernoulli was born in Groningen, the Netherlands, on January 29, 1700, and took an early interest in mathematics. Although he earned a medical degree in 1721, he became a Professor of Mathematics at the Russian Academy in St Petersburg in 1725. He later taught experimental philosophy, anatomy, and botany at the universities of Groningen and Basle, Switzerland.

Bernoulli pioneered in Europe the acceptance of the new physics of the English scientist Isaac Newton. He studied the flow of fluids and formulated the principle that the pressure exerted by a fluid is inversely proportional to its rate of flow. He used atomistic concepts in trying to develop the first kinetic theory of gases, accounting for their behaviour under conditions of changing pressure and temperature in probabilistic terms. This work, however, did not gain wide notice at the time. Bernoulli died in Basle on March 17, 1782.

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