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Born July 1, 1788
Died December 22, 1867 (aged 79)
Residence Metz (later Paris)
Fields Mathematics, engineering
Institutions École d’Application of Metz, University of Paris, École Polytechnique
Alma mater École Polytechnique
Known for Traité des propriétés projectives des figures (1822), Introduction à la mécanique industrielle (1829)
Jean-Victor Poncelet (July 1, 1788 – December 22, 1867) was a French engineer and mathematician who served most notably as the commandant general of the École Polytechnique. He is considered a reviver of projective geometry, and his work Traité des propriétés projectives des figures is considered the first definitive paper on the subject since Gérard Desargues' work on it in the 17th century. He later wrote an introduction to it; Applications d’analyse et de géométrie.
As a mathematician, his most notable work was in projective geometry, in particular, his work on Feuerbach's theorem. He also made discoveries about projective harmonic conjugates; among these were the poles and polar lines associated with conic sections. These discoveries led to the principle of duality, and also aided in the development of complex numbers and projective geometry.
As a military engineer, he served in Napoleon's campaign against the Russian Empire in 1812, in which he was captured and held prisoner until 1814. Later, he served as a professor of mechanics at the École d’Application in his home town of Metz, during which time he published Introduction à la mécanique industrielle, a work he is famous for, and improved the design of turbines and water wheels. After this, he served as professor at the Faculté des Sciences at the University of Paris, and finally as the commandant general of his alma mater, the École Polytechnique.He is honoured by having his name listed among notable French engineers and scientists displayed around the first stage of the Eiffel tower.