Lazare Carnot

Biography of Lazare Carnot

Lazare Nicolas Marguerite, Comte Carnot (13 May 1753 – 2 August 1823), the Organizer of Victory in the French Revolutionary Wars, was a French politician, engineer, and mathematician.

Born in Nolay, Côte-d'Or, Carnot was educated in Burgundy at the Collège d’Autun, an artillery and engineering prep school. He graduated from Mezieres School of Engineering, where he had met and studied with Benjamin Franklin, at the age of twenty and obtained commission as a lieutenant in the Prince of Condé’s engineer corps. It was here that he early made a name for himself both in the line of physics and in his work in the field of fortifications. Although in the army, he continued his study of mathematics. In 1784 he published his first work Essay on Machines which contained a statement that foreshadowed the principle of energy as applied to a falling weight, and the earliest proof of the fact that kinetic energy is lost in the collision of imperfectly elastic bodies. This publication earned him the honour of admittance to a literary society. In that same year, he also received a promotion to the rank of captain.

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