March 21 1768 - May 16 1830

Born Auxerre, France. Died Paris, France.

**Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier**studied the mathematical theory of heat conduction. He established the partial differential equation governing heat diffusion and solved it by using infinite series of trigonometric functions.

Fourier trained for the priesthood but did not take his vows. Instead took up mathematics studying (1794) and later teaching mathematics at the new Eacute;cole Normale.

In 1798 he joined Napoleon's army in its invasion of Egypt as scientific advisor. He helped establish educational facilities in Egypt and carried out archaeological explorations. He returned to France in 1801 and was appointed prefect of the department of Isere by Napoleon.

He published "Theacuteorie analytique de la chaleur" in 1822 devoted to the mathematical theory of heat conduction. He established the partial differential equation governing heat diffusion and solved it by using infinite series of trigonometric functions. In this he introduced the representation of a function as a series of sines or cosines now known as Fourier series.

Fourier's work provided the impetus for later work on trigonometric series and the theory of functions of a real variable.

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