Louis Bertrand Castel

Born: 15 Nov 1688 in Montpellier, France
Died: 11 Jan 1757 in Paris, France

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Louis Castel attended a Jesuit school in Toulouse, then at the age of 15, he entered the Jesuit Order. His early writing were seen by Fontenelle who persuaded Castel to go to Paris. Indeed in 1720 Castel did go to Paris and taught at the Jesuit school there which was later to become Lycée Louis-le-Grand. Castel was never to leave Paris again except for a short visit to the South of France near the end of his life.

Castel was a strong opponent of Newton's views on science. On nationalistic grounds he supported the views of Descartes and his opposition delayed acceptance of Newton's theories in France. Castel believed that science should be based on logical thought not on experiment. Newton, he said, reduced man to using only his eyes.

Castel's physics was based on reason, not observation. He also opposed Newton on religious grounds, believing Newtonian theory to be materialistic. He gave his alternative system to replace Newton's system but it is of little importance.

Castel taught infinitesimal calculus and mechanics.

References (2 books/articles)

References elsewhere in this archive:

Louis B Castel was elected to the Royal Society of London in 1730. You can see a history of the Royal Society and a list of the members among the mathematicians in our archive.

Villa Castel is in the 20h Arrondissement in Paris. You can see a list of Paris streets named after mathematicians in our archive.

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JOC/EFR December 1996