Pierre de Maupertuis, French mathematician, c 1750s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Mezzotint engraving by I I Haid of Augsburg, Germany after R Tourmere, showing three-quarter length portrait of Maupertuis pointing with his right hand and resting his left hand on a globe. Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (1698-1759) became a member of the AcadEmie des Sciences in Paris in 1731 and was responsible for introducing Newton's theory of gravity to France. After a succesful expedition to Lapland to prove Newton's theories, Maupertuis was invited to Germany by Frederick the Great. He became a member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences in 1741 and was appointed its president in 1746. His work covered the areas of mechanics and heredity, and he published on many topics including mathematics, geography, astronomy and cosmology.