(May 9, 1746 – July 28, 1818)
Although Gaspard Monge is widely credited with inventing Descriptive Geometry, I must mention that several Renaissance-era artists such as Albrecht Duerer of Nuremberg (in Germany) were aware of it. Duerer’s publication in 1525 titled: Underweysung der Messung mit dem Zirckel und Richtscheyt, which dealt with the basics of the subject, is over two centuries older than Professor Monge. Nonetheless, Monge deserves recognition, because he was the first person known to have used rigorous mathematics in analyzing and elaborating the hitherto artistic theme. He is as well, revered for his pioneering treatise on Differential Geometry in 1795. In fact, many scholars refer to him as the “Father of Differential Geometry” due to that. But long before these works and discoveries, Monge proved his brilliance by becoming a physics lecturer while still in his teens. He also explored chemistry and metallurgy before settling for a military career. It was while serving in the French engineering corps that he developed descriptive geometry. The importance of his work was such that France kept it secret for more than a decade. Those works alleviated many of the problems encountered in both architecture and engineering. Gaspard Monge also worked alongside Adrien-Marie Legendre, Antoine Lavoisier and others in establishing the metric system of measurements. In recognition for his various contributions, Emperor Napoleon (I) made him the Count of Péluse in 1808. Jean-Victor Poncelet, who contributed significantly to Projective Geometry and later served as the Commanding General of the École Polytechnique (from 1848 to 1850), is among his most accomplished students.