Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis or Gustave Coriolis (May 21, 1792September 19, 1843), mathematician, mechanical engineer and scientist born in Paris, France. He is best known for his work on the Coriolis Effect. Coriolis was the first to coin the term "work" for the product of force and distance.[1]

In 1816 Coriolis became a tutor at the École Polytechnique. Here he did experiments on friction and hydraulics.

In 1829 Coriolis published a textbook, Calcul de l'Effet des Machines (Calculation of the Effect of Machines), which presented mechanics in a way that could be readily be applied by industry. In this period the correct expression for kinetic energy, mv2/2, and its relation to mechanical work became established.

During the following years Coriolis worked to extend the notion of kinetic energy and work to rotating systems. The first of his papers, Sur le principe des forces vives dans les mouvements relatifs des machines (On the principle of kinetic energy in the relative motion in machines), was read to the Académie des Sciences (Coriolis 1832). Three years later came the paper that would make his name famous, Sur les équations du mouvement relatif des systèmes de corps (On the equations of relative motion of a system of bodies) (Coriolis 1835). Coriolis's papers do not deal with the atmosphere or even the rotation of the earth, but with the transfer of energy in rotating systems like waterwheels.

Coriolis's name began to appear in the meteorological literature at the end of the 19th century, although the term "Coriolis force" was not used until the beginning of the 20th century. Today, the name Coriolis has become strongly associated with meteorology, but all major discoveries about the general circulation and the relation between the pressure and wind fields were made without knowledge about Gaspard Gustave Coriolis.

Coriolis became also professor at École centrale Paris. He died at the age of 51 in Paris.


1. ^ Jammer, Max (1957). Concepts of Force. Dover Publications, Inc.. ISBN 0-486-40689-X.

Further reading

* Persson, A., 1998 How do we understand the Coriolis Force? Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. 79, 1373-1385.

374 KB PDF document of the above article


* O'Connor, John J. & Robertson, Edmund F., "Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive


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