(b. Périgueux, France, 7 February 1816; d. Périgueux, 12 June 1900)
Frenet was the son of Pierre Frenet, a Perruquier. In 1840 he entered the École Normale Supérieure and later studied at the University of Toulouse, where he received the doctorate for the thesis Sur les fonctions qui servent à dèterminer l’attraction des sphéroïdes quelconques. Programme d’une thèse sur quelques propriétés des courbes à double courbure (1847). The latter part of the thesis was subsequently published in the Journal de mathématiques pures et appliquées (1852) and contains what are known in the theory of space curves as the Frenet-Serret formulas. Frenet, however, presents only six formulas explicitly, whereas Serret presents all nine. Frenet subsequently explained the use of his formulas in “Théorèmes sur les courbes gauches” (1853).
After a period as a professor in Toulouse, Frenet went to Lyons, where in 1848 he became professor of mathematics at the university. He was also director of the astronomical observatory, where he conducted meteorological observations. He retired in 1868 with the title of honorary professor and settled at Bayot, a family estate in his native Perigueux. Unmarried, he lived quietly with a sister until his death.
Frenet’s constantly revised and augmented Recueil d’exercises sur le calcul infinitésimal (1856) was popular for more than half a century. It contains problems with full solutions and often with historical remarks
Frenet was a man of wide erudition and a classical scholar who was respected in this community, but his mathematical production was limited.
Frenet’s best-known works are Sur les fonctions qui servent à determiner l’attraction des sphèroïdes quelconques. Programme d’une thèse sur quelques propriétés des courbes à double courbure (Toulouse, 1847); “Sur quelques propriétés des courbes à double courbure,” in Journal de mathématiques pures et appliquées, 17 (1852), 437–447; “Théorèmes sur les courbes gauches,” in Nouvelles annales de mathematiques, 12 (1853), 365–372; and Recueil d’exercises sur le calcul infinitésimal (Paris, 1856; 7th ed., 1917).
Minor mathematical papers are “Note sur un théorème de Descartes,” in Nouvelles annales de mathématiques, 13 (1854), 299–301; “Sur une formule de Gauss,” in Mémoires de la Société des sciences physiques et naturelles de Bordeaux, 6 (1868), 385–392. Meteorological observations are in Mémoires de l’Académie impériale de Lyon, Classe des sciences, 3 (1853), 177–225; 6 (1856), 263–326; and 8 (1858), 73–121, continued afterward by A. Drian
An obituary of Frenet is in L’avenir de Dordogne (17 June 1900).
D. J. Struik
"Frenet, Jean-Fréd." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 20, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/frenet-jean-fred
"Frenet, Jean-Fréd." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Retrieved February 20, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/frenet-jean-fred
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.