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Laplace Gift items available include:
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Pierre-Simon Laplace
  1749 - 1827
   

Pierre-Simon Laplace was a mathematician who firmly believed the world was entirely deterministic.  Like a man with a hammer to whom everything was a nail, to Laplace the universe was nothing but a giant problem in calculus.

Laplace's Mécanique Céleste (Celestial Mechanics), essentially translated the geometrical study of mechanics by Newton to one based on calculus.  Napoleon asked Laplace why there was not a single mention of God in Laplace's entire five volume explaining how the heavens operated.  (Newton, a man of science who believed in an omnipresent God, had even posited God's periodic intervention to keep the universe on track.) Laplace replied to Napoleon that he had "no need for that particular hypothesis".

Laplace also used calculus, among other things, to explore probability theory. Laplace considered probability theory to be simply "common sense reduced to calculus", which he systematized in his "Essai Philosophique sur les Probabilités" (Philosophical Essay on Probability, 1814).

Laplace's contention that the universe and all it contained were deterministic machines was thoroughly over-turned by the discoveries of twentieth century physics.

About the Image:

Laplace is portrayed with what is possibly the most celebrated differential equation ever devised -- Laplace's partial differential equation, commonly referred to as Laplace's Equation, shown here in the form of a Laplacian operator.

Laplace's partial differential has been successfully used for tasks as diverse as describing the stability of the solar system, the field around an electrical charge, and the distribution of heat in a pot of food in the oven.

Laplace's image has been transformed by a Laplacian operator. The Laplacian of an image highlights regions of rapid intensity change and is suitable for edge detection (critical in almost all image analysis applications, and extending to areas such as robotic vision).

Inscribed over the portrait of Laplace is the Laplacian distribution curve. The Laplacian probability density function has found digital age applicability in data compression.

The background to Laplace's portrait is a graphic derived from a solution to Laplace's equation.

 
 
       
 
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