HOSPITAL

, or Hopital (William-FrancisAnthony, marquis of), a celebrated French mathematician, was born of an ancient family in 1661. He was a mathematician almost from his infancy; for being one day at the duke of Rohan's, where some able mathematicians were speaking of a problem of Pascal's, which appeared to them very difficult, he ventured to say, that he believed he could resolve it. They were surprised at such presumption in a boy of 15, for he was then no more; however, in a few days he sent them the solution.

M. l'Hospital entered early into the army, and was a captain of horse; but being very short-sighted, and on that account exposed to perpetual inconveniences and errors, he at length quitted the army, and applied himself entirely to his favourite amusement.—He contracted a friendship with Malbranche, and took his opinion upon all occasions.—In 1699 he was received an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences at Paris.

He was the first person in France who wrote upon Newton's analysis, and on this account was regarded almost as a prodigy. His work was entitled l'Analyse des Infinimens Petits, 1696. He engaged afterwards in another mathematical work, in which he included Les Sections Coniques, les Lieux Géometriques, la Construction des Equations, et une Théorie des Courbes Mechaniques: but, a little before he had finished it he was seized with a fever, which carried him off, the 2d of February 1704, at 43 years of age. The work was published after his death, viz, in 1707. There are also six of his pieces inserted in different volumes of the Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences.

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Entry taken from A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary, by Charles Hutton, 1796.

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