PierreSimon Laplace
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Laplace (17491827) who was a giant in the world of mathematics both before and after the French Revolution. He addressed one of the great questions of his age, raised but sidestepped by Newton: was the Solar System stable, or would the planets crash into the Sun, as it appeared Jupiter might, or even spin away like Saturn threatened to do? He advanced ideas on probability, long the preserve of card players, and expanded them out across science; he hypothesised why the planets rotate in the same direction; and he asked if the Universe was deterministic, so that if you knew everything about all the particles then you could predict the future. He also devised the metric system and reputedly came up with the name ‘metre’.
Guests
 Marcus du Sautoy
15 episodes
Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford  Timothy Gowers
4 episodes
Professor of Mathematics at the College de France  Colva RoneyDougal
11 episodes
Professor of Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews
Reading list

The History of Mathematics: An Introduction
David M. Burton (McGrawHill Education, 2010) Google Books → 
PierreSimon Laplace, 17491827: A Life in Exact Science
Charles Coulston Gillispie (Princeton University Press, 2000) Google Books → 
What We Cannot Know: From Consciousness to the Cosmos, the Cutting Edge of Science Explained
Marcus du Sautoy (Fourth Estate, 2017) Google Books → 
Pierre Simon Laplace, 17491827: A Determined Scientist
Roger Hahn (Harvard University Press, 2005) Google Books → 
God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History
Stephen Hawking (ed.) (Penguin, 2006) Google Books → 
A History of Mathematics: An Introduction
Victor J. Katz (Pearson, 1998) Google Books → 
A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities
PierreSimon Laplace (trans. Frederick Wilson Truscott) (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015) Google Books → 
Newton's Clock: Chaos in the Solar System
Ivars Peterson (W.H.Freeman & Co, 1995) Google Books →
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Programme ID: m000twgj
Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000twgj
Autocategory: 510 (Mathematics)