Joseph Louis Lagrange, Italian-born mathematician, c 1800.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Joseph Louis Lagrange (1736-1813) was born to French parents in Turin, Italy. Lagrange is famous for his work on theoretical mechanics. In 1755 Lagrange was made profesor of mathematics at the Artillery School in Turin. In 1787 Lagrange moved to Paris where he published his masterpiece, the 'Mecanique Analytique'. Described as a 'scientific poem' by W R Hamilton the work is purely algebraic operations without explanatory diagrams or information.