Mathematician:Jacob Bernoulli

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Swiss mathematician best known for his work on probability theory, analytic geometry and development of the calculus.

Also developed the field of calculus of variations.

Developed the technique of separation of variables, and in $1696$ solved what is now known as Bernoulli's (Differential) Equation.

Invented polar coordinates.

Elder brother of Johann Bernoulli, with whom he famously quarrelled.

He and Johann, having encountered Leibniz's early papers in his Acta Eruditorum, became his most important students.

Solved the Brachistochrone problem, which had been posed in $1696$ by his brother Johann.

Also investigated the catenary and the logarithmic spiral.




  • Born: 27 Dec 1654 in Basel, Switzerland
  • 1687: Became Professor of Mathematics at Basel
  • Died: 16 Aug 1705 in Basel, Switzerland

Theorems and Definitions

Results named for Jacob Bernoulli can be found here.

Definitions of concepts named for Jacob Bernoulli can be found here.


Notable Quotes

Invito patre sidera verso (Against my father's will I study the stars)
-- Personal motto, created in memory of his father who opposed his desire to study mathematics and astronomy and tried to force him to study to become a theologian.

Also known as

Jacob Bernoulli is also known as James, Jacques or Jakob.

Sometimes reported as Jakob I, or Jacob I, so as to distinguish him from Jakob II Bernoulli.

Also see