(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, 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 scrupulous mathematics in analyzing and consolidating the hitherto artistic theme. He is as well, revered for his pioneering treatise on Differential Geometry in 1795. Many scholars regard him as the “Father of Differential Geometry” due to that. But long before these works and discoveries, Monge proved his mettle by becoming a physics tutor while in his teens. He also explored chemistry and metallurgy before opting 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. And apart from spearheading the founding of Palaiseau’s École Polytechnique in 1794, Gaspard Monge collaborated with 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 distinguished himself in Projective Geometry and as the École Polytechnique’s Commanding General (from 1848 to 1850), is among his illustrious students.