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The 2018-2019 academic year marks the 250th birthday of Joseph Fourier: physicist, mathematician, and former Prefect (or Governor) of Isère (the département that includes Grenoble). Fourier was instrumental in creating a tradition of scientific excellence in the Grenoble region that continues to this day.

Fourier's scientific contributions

A mathematician and physicist, Fourier is perhaps best known for the Fourier transform, a mathematical function used to calculate the parts of a continuous signal. The operation has many uses in fields as diverse as cryptography, speech recognition, and handwriting analysis. 

His mathematical work was grounded in the observation of the natural world, notably in his 1822 work, Théorie analytique de la chaleur (The Analytic Theory of Heat), presented to the French Academy of Sciences. His work on heat led him to the discovery of the greenhouse effect. 

A Key Figure in Grenoble History

In 1801, Fourier was also appointed Préfet of Isère, the départment that includes Grenoble. He also served as permanent secretary of the French Academy of Sciences, and as a member of the Royal Swedith Academy of Sciences, exemplifying an international spirit of scientific curiosity still embraced in Grenoble today. 

In 1811, he created the faculté de sceinces in Grenoble, which would eventually become the Université Joseph Fourier (UJF) in 1970. 

The UJF is one of the founding members of today's Université Grenoble Alpes, continuing a 200 year long tradition of excellence in research, teaching, and international scientific cooperation. 

In October 2018, the University Science Library was renamed the Bibliothèque universitaire Joseph Fourier in honor of Fourier's scientific contrinutions and spirit. 



Publié le December 12, 2018
Mis à jour le December 12, 2018

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