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Abraham of Moivre


Abraham of Moivre He was born on May 26, 1667 in Vitry (near Paris), France, and died on November 27, 1754 in London, England. After spending five years in a Protestant academy in Sedan, Moivre studied logic in Saumur from 1682 until 1684. He then went to Paris, studying at the Collège de Harcourt, and taking private math classes with Ozanam.

A French Protestant, Moivre emigrated to England in 1685 following the repeal of the Nantes Edict and the expulsion of Huguenots. He became a private math tutor and waited for a math chair, but failed as foreigners were at a disadvantage. In 1697 he was elected a member of the Royal Society.

In 1710 Moivre was assigned to the Royal Society Commission to revise Newton and Leibniz's rival claims of the discoverer of calculus. His appointment to this Commission was due to his friendship with Newton. The Royal Society knew the answer it wanted!

Moivre paved the way for the development of analytical geometry and probability theory. He published The Chance Doctrine in 1718. The definition of statistical independence appears in this book along with many problems with dice and other games. He also investigated mortality statistics and the foundation of annuity theory.

In Miscellanea Analytica (1730) appears the Stirling formula (wrongly attributed to Stirling) that Moivre used in 1733 to derive the normal curve as an approximation to the binomial. In the second edition of the book in 1738, Moivre credits Stirling for an improvement to the formula.

Moivre is also remembered for his formula for (cos x + i sin x)no that took trigonometry under analysis.

THEDespite Moivre's scientific eminence, his main income was in mathematics education and he died in poverty. He, like Cardan, is famous for predicting the day of his own death. He thought he was sleeping 15 minutes more each night and adding the arithmetic progression, calculated that he would die the day he slept for 24 hours. Was he right!