Bernoulli, John

, the brother of the preceding, and a celebrated mathematician, was born at Basil the 7th of August 1667. His father intended him for trade; but his own inclination was at first for the belles-lettres, which however, like his brother, he left for mathematics. He laboured with his brother to discover the method used by Leibnitz, in his essays on the Differential Calculus, and gave the first principles of the Integral Calculus. Our author, with messieurs Huygens and Leibnitz, was the first who gave the solution of the problem proposed by James Bernoulli, concerning the catenary, or curve formed by a chain suspended by its two extremities.

John Bernoulli had the degree of doctor of physic at Basil, and two years afterward was named professor of mathematics in the university of Groningen. It was here that he discovered the mercurial phosphorus or luminous barometer; and where he resolved the problem proposed by his brother concerning Isoperimetricals. On the death of his brother James, the professor at Basil, our author returned to his native country, against the pressing invitations of the magistrates of Utrecht to come to that city, and of the university of Groningen, who wished to retain him. The academic senate of Basil soon appointed him to succeed his brother, without assembling competitors, and contrary to the established practice: an appointment which he held during his whole life.

In 1714 was published his treatise on “the management of Ships;” and in 1730, his memoir on “the elliptical figure of the Planets” gained the prize of the academy of sciences. The same academy also divided the prize, for their question concerning the inclination of the planetary orbits, between our author and his son Daniel. John Bernoulli was a member of most of the academies of Europe, and received as a foreign associate of that of Paris in 1699. After a long life spent in constant study and improvement of all the brances of the mathematics, he died full of | honours the first of January 1748, in the 8 1st year of his age. Of five sons which he had, three pursued the same sciences with himself. One of these died before him the two others, Nicolas and Daniel, he lived to see become eminent and much respected in the same sciences. The writings of this great man were dispersed through the periodical memoirs of several academies, as well as in many separate treatises. And the whole of them were carefully collected and published at Lausanne and Geneva, 1742, in 4 vols. 4to; but this is still not quite perfect without his correspondence with Leibnitz, published under the title, “Gul. Leibnitii et Johan. Bernouillii commercium philosophicum et mathematicum,Lausanne & Geneva, 1745, 2 vols. 4to. 1

1 Gen. Dict.—Moreri. Biosj. Univ. —Saxii Onomasticon. Button’s Math. Dictionary.