Pierre Louis Maupertuis
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis (Saint-Malo, 17 July 1698 – Basel, 27 July 1759) was a French mathematician, philosopher and man of letters. He became the Director of the Académie des Sciences, and the first President of the Berlin Academy of Science, at the invitation of Frederick the Great.
Maupertuis made an expedition to Lapland to determine the shape of the earth. He is often credited with having invented the principle of least action; a version is known as Maupertuis' principle – an integral equation that determines the path followed by a physical system. His work in natural history has its interesting points, since he touched on aspects of heredity and the struggle for life.