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Gabrielle Émilie, Marquise du Châtelet

(1706-1749), French mathematician and physicist

Sitter in 1 portrait
The Marquise du Châtelet's significant contributions to physics and mathematics were somewhat overshadowed in her own lifetime by her involvement and collaboration with Voltaire, who controversially lived for a time with her family. Married with three children, she created a laboratory at the family home and overcame the challenges faced by women in her field. Expanding on and challenging the work of many of the leading scientists, her paper on the nature of light, heat and fire was the first by a woman to be published by the Academy of Sciences in 1737. Her translation of Newton's Principia, was not only the first in French but included her own notes and experiments. In 1740, she published Foundations of Physics, which was translated into several languages.

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Gabrielle Émilie, Marquise du Châtelet, by Mackenzie, after  Charles Monnet - NPG D23528

Gabrielle Émilie, Marquise du Châtelet

by Mackenzie, after Charles Monnet
stipple engraving, early 19th century
NPG D23528

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