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Jules Tannery (March 24, 1848 – December 11, 1910) was a French mathematician who notably studied under Charles Hermite and was the PhD advisor of Jacques Hadamard.

Under Hermite, he received is doctorate in 1874 for his thesis Propriétés des Intégrales des Équations Différentielle Linéaires à Coefficients Variables.

He discovered a surface of the fourth order of which all the geodesic lines are algebraic. He was not an inventor, however, but essentially a critic and methodologist. He once remarked, "Mathematicians are so used to their symbols and have so much fun playing with them, that it is sometimes necessary to take their toys away from them in order to oblige them to think."

He notably influenced Paul Painlevé, Jules Drach, and Émile Borel to take up science.

His efforts were mainly directed to the study of the mathematical foundations and of the philosophical ideas implied in mathematical thinking.


* George Sarton, "Jules, and Marie Tannery (with a note on Grégoire Wyrouboff)," Isis, Vol. 38, No. 1/2. (Nov., 1947), pp. 33-51.

External links

* Tannery's Mactutor biography
* Tannery's math genealogy
* Tannery on geometry


Mathematics Encyclopedia

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