• synonyms

Laplace, Marquis de


A French mathematician and scientist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Laplace produced the first modern theory to explain the formation of the solar system and the first modern theory of the tides.

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Upon receiving a copy of Laplace's major work, Napoleon Bonaparte observed, “You have written this huge book on the system of the world without once mentioning the author of the universe.” Laplace gave this well-known reply: “Sire, I have no need for that hypothesis.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.