Origin of our solar system

1796 Origin of our solar system

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Pierre-Simon Laplace astronomy

Origin of our solar system

Idealizing chaos


Laplace was a mathematical and scientific genius. His calculation of how massive the sun would need to be for its gravity to capture all its light, removed from the second edition of Exposition du Système du Monde, was published a hundred years before Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Laplace also applied calculus to celestial mechanics, solved the “great Jupiter-Saturn inequality” and inequalities related to the movement of the moon, developed the Bayesian interpretation of probability, invented the probability-generating function, published the first statement of scientific determinism (Laplace’s demon), invented the transform of differential equations named after him, studied the equation, operator, distribution, matrix, motion, expansion, number, limit, principle (large deviations theory), and invariant named after him, built upon Thomas Young’s work on surface tension to develop the theory of capillary action (resulting in the Young-Laplace equation), and was the first to observe that the speed of sound in air depends on the heat capacity ratio.

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