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Joseph Boussinesq

Joseph Valentin Boussinesq
Born 13 March 1842(1842-03-13)
Saint-André-de-Sangonis (Hérault département), France
Died 19 February 1929 (aged 86)
Paris, France
Nationality  France
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Faculty of Sciences of Lille (1872–1886)
Faculty of Sciences of Paris (1896–1918)
Alma mater Faculty of Sciences of Paris
Known for Boussinesq approximation in:
water waves
Notable awards Poncelet Price, French Academy of Sciences (1871)

Joseph Valentin Boussinesq (13 March 1842 – 19 February 1929) was a French mathematician and physicist who made significant contributions to the theory of hydrodynamics, vibration, light, and heat.

From 1872 to 1886, he was appointed professor at Faculty of Sciences of Lille, lecturing differential and integral calculus at Institut industriel du Nord (École centrale de Lille). From 1896 to his retirement in 1918, he was professor of mechanics at Faculty of Sciences of Paris.

John Scott Russell experimentally observed his great solitary wave of translation in 1834 and reported it during the 1844 Meeting of the British Association for the advancement of science. Subsequently this was developed into the modern physics of solitons. In 1871, Boussinesq published the first mathematical theory to support Russell's experimental observation. In 1876, Lord Rayleigh published his mathematical theory to support Russell's experimental observation. At the end of his paper[1], Lord Rayleigh admitted that Boussinesq's theory came before his.

In 1897 he published Théorie de l' écoulement tourbillonnant et tumultueux des liquides, a work that greatly contributed to the study of turbulence and hydrodynamics.

The word "turbulence" was never used by Boussinesq. He used sentences such as "Ă©coulement tourbillonnant et tumultueux". The first mention of the word "turbulence" in French or English scientific fluid mechanics literature (the word "turbulence" existed in other context) can be found in a paper by Lord Kelvin in 1887.[2]


Books by Joseph Valentin Boussinesq

See also


  1. ^ Lord Rayleigh (1876). On waves. Philosophical Magazine, ser. 5, vol. 1, no. 4: 257-279.
  2. ^ Lord Kelvin (W. Thomson) (1887), "On the propagation of laminar motion through a turbulently moving inviscid liquid", Philosophical Magazine 24: 342–353  

Further reading

  • Schmitt, F.G. (2007), "About Boussinesq’s turbulent viscosity hypothesis: historical remarks and a direct evaluation of its validity", Comptes Rendus MĂ©canique 335 (9–10): 617–627, doi:10.1016/j.crme.2007.08.004  


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