Gaspard Monge, French mathematician, late 18th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Gaspard Monge, Comte de Peluse (1746-1816) developed descriptive geometry which forms the basis of engineering drawing. In 1783 Monge discovered that water resulted from an electrical explosion of oxygen and hydrogen, a realisation he made independently from James Watt and Henry Cavendish. In 1794 he helped found the Ecole Polytechnique.