Philippe de La Hire
Philippe de La Hire (or Lahire, La Hyre or Phillipe de La Hire) (18
March 1640 – 21 April 1718) was a French painter, mathematician,
astronomer, and architect. According to Bernard le Bovier de
Fontenelle he was an "academy unto himself".
He was born in Paris, the son of Laurent de La Hire, a distinguished
artist and Marguerite Coquin. In 1660, he moved to
Venice for four
years to study painting. Upon his return to Paris, he became a
Girard Desargues from whom he learned geometrical
perspective and was received as a master painter on 4 August
1670. His paintings have sometimes been confused with those of his
son, Jean Nicolas de La Hire, who was a doctor but also a painter.
He also began to study science and showed an aptitude for mathematics.
He was taught by the French Jesuit theologian, mathematician,
physicist and controversialist
Honoré Fabri and became part of a
circle formed by Fabri which included Giovanni Domenico Cassini,
Claude Francois Milliet Deschales,
Christiaan Huygens and his brother
Constantijn, Gottfried Leibniz,
René Descartes and Marin Mersenne.
He became a member of
French Academy of Sciences
French Academy of Sciences in 1678, and
subsequently became active as an astronomer, calculating tables of the
movements of the Sun, Moon, and planets and designing contrivances for
aiming aerial telescopes. From 1679–1682 he made several
observations and measurements of the French coastline, and in 1683
aided in mapping
France by extending the
Paris meridian to the north.
In 1683 La Hire assumed the chair of mathematics at the Collège
Royal. From 1687 onwards he taught at the Académie d’architecture.
La Hire wrote on graphical methods, 1673; on conic sections, 1685; a
treatise on epicycloids, 1694; one on roulettes, 1702; and, lastly,
another on conchoids, 1708. His works on conic sections and
epicycloids were based on the teaching of Desargues, of whom he was
the favourite pupil. He also translated the essay of Manuel
Moschopulus on magic squares, and collected many of the theorems on
them which were previously known; this was published in 1705. He also
published a set of astronomical tables in 1702. La Hire's work also
extended to descriptive zoology, the study of respiration, and
Two of his sons were also notable for their scientific achievements:
Philippe de La Hire
Philippe de La Hire (1677–1719), mathematician, and
Jean-Nicolas de La Hire (1685–1727), botanist.
Mons La Hire, a mountain on the Moon, is named for him.
1 Selected works
4 External links
Andromeda and Cassiopeia, detail from Planisphère céleste (1705).
Unless otherwise stated La Hire's works are in French.
Nouvelle méthode en géométrie pour les sections des superficies
coniques et cylindriques (1673) (New geometrical method for the
sections of conical and cylindrical areas)
Nouveaux éléments des sections coniques: Les lieux géométriques:
Les constructions ou effections des équations[permanent dead link]
La gnomonique ou l'Art de faire des cadrans au soleil (1682)
Gnomonics or the Art of making sundials.)
Sectiones conicæ (1685) (Conic sections.) (in Latin)
Tables du Soleil et de la Lune (1687) (Tables of the Sun and of the
L'ecole des arpenteurs (1689 ; on line: 4th ed., 1732)
Traité de mecanique: ou l'on explique tout ce qui est nécessaire
dans la pratique des arts, & les propriétés des corps pesants
lesquelles ont un plus grand usage dans la physique (1695)
Tabulæ astronomicæ (1702) (in Latin)
Planisphère céleste (1705)
"Des conchoïdes en général". In: Histoire de l'Académie royale des
sciences, p. 32 of the memoirs section (1708)
Tabulæ astronomicæ Ludovici Magni iussu et munificentia exaratæ et
in lucem editæ (1727) (in Latin)
Tables astronomiques dressées et mises en lumiere par les ordres et
par la magnificence de Louis le Grand (1735)
^ a b c "LA HIRE, Philippe de." Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Oxford
Art Online (subscription required). Oxford University Press, accessed
May 29, 2016.
^ a b c Chareix 2008, p. 662.
^ Hockey, Thomas (2009). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers.
Springer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0. Retrieved August 22,
^ Introduction to Jesuit Geometers by Joseph F. MacDonnell - Chapter 4
Influence on Other Geometers
^ "Méthode pour se servir des grands verres de lunette sans tuyau
pendant la nuit". In: Mém. de l'Acad., 1715
Chareix, Fabien (2008). "La Hire, Philippe de la", vol. 2, pp.
662–664, in The Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century French
Philosophers, edited by Luc Foisneau. London: Continuum.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Philippe de La Hire.
O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Philippe de La Hire",
MacTutor History of
Mathematics archive, University of St
Philippe de La Hire
Philippe de La Hire at the Catholic Encyclopedia
This text incorporates public domain material from the Rouse History
ISNI: 0000 0001 2120 9047
BNF: cb121592847 (data)