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Olinde Rodrigues: Wikis


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Benjamin Olinde Rodrigues (1795–1851), more commonly known as Olinde Rodrigues, was a French banker, mathematician, and social reformer.

Rodrigues was born into a well-to-do Portuguese Jewish[1] family in Bordeaux, France. Rodrigues was awarded a doctorate in mathematics on 28 June 1815 by the University of Paris.[2] His dissertation contains the result now called Rodrigues' formula.[3]

After graduation, Rodrigues became a banker. A close associate of the Comte de Saint-Simon, after the latter's death in 1825, he continued to champion his socialist ideals (Saint-Simonianism). Rodrigues published writings on politics, social reform, and banking.

In 1840, he published a result on transformation groups. However, his work on mathematics was largely ignored, and has only relatively recently been rediscovered. He died in Paris.

Rodrigues is remembered for two formulae: one about rotation of vectors (see Rodrigues' rotation formula) and the other about series of orthogonal polynomials. The former is known as "the Rodrigues formula" thanks to the advocacy of Eduard Heine, who argued that, because Charles Hermite "had shown that Rodrigues had priority in discovering the formula, then it should be known as the Rodrigues formula."[4]


  1. ^ Simon Altmann, "Rotations, Quaternions and Double Groups"(Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1986, ISBN 0-19-855372-2): "The family is often said to have been of Spanish origin, but the spelling of the family name rather suggests Portuguese descent (as indeed asserted by the 'Enciclopedia Universal Illustrada Espasa-Calpe')". For more information on the Rodrigues as Portuguese Jews in Bordeaux see also the Jewish Encyclopedia at
  2. ^ Altmann and Ortiz(2005), p. 12
  3. ^ Olinde Rodrigues (January, 1816). "De l'attraction des sphéroïdes". Correspondence sur l'École Impériale Polytechnique 3 (3): pp. 361–385.  
  4. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Olinde Rodrigues", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews,  .


  • Simon L. Altmann (1989). "Hamilton, Rodrigues and the quaternion scandal". Mathematics Magazine 62: 291–308. ISSN 0025-570X.  
  • Simon L. Altmann (2005). Rotations, Quaternions and Double Groups. Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-44518-6.  
  • Simon L. Altmann; & Eduardo L.Ortiz (eds.) (2005). Mathematics and social utopias in France: Olinde Rodrigues and his times. American Mathematical Society, Providence, RI. ISBN 0-8218-3860-1.   Corrects some of the traditional thinking about Rodrigues as a mathematician


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