CALCULUS Understanding Its Concepts and Methods

Henri Padé (1863--1953) --- Historical Sketch

Henri Padé was born in northern France late in 1863 and graduated with a baccalaureate degree at age 17. After continuing his education in Paris and graduating from the École Normale Supérieure, he embarked upon a career of secondary school teaching in 1886. His first mathematical research publication appeared in 1888. The next year, he went to Germany to study mathematics in Leipzig and Göttingen. In 1892, he obtained his doctorate, the subject of his thesis being what are today called Padé approximations. His approximations are related to continued fractions, which are of the general formthat, like infinite series, never end. Because they take so much space when written in the above form, they are often represented as

Padé's doctoral supervisor Charles Hermite had earlier used continued fractions in his 1873 proof that the number is transcendental.

Upon completing his doctoral work, Pade taught in Lille, in northern France. Then four years later, he went to Poirtiers to take a professorial position, thence a year later to the University of Bordeaux. He received the Grand Prix of the French Academy of Sciences in 1906.

He spent the remainder of his career in higher administrative posts in various French universities.

Set each of the continued fractions and equal to , and can solve for .

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Copyright © 2006 Darel Hardy, Fred Richman, Carol Walker, Robert Wisner. All rights reserved. Except upon the express prior permission in writing, from the authors, no part of this work may be reproduced, transcribed, stored electronically, or transmitted in any form by any method.