June - Mathematician - Siméon-Denis Poisson

Siméon-Denis Poisson  was born on the 21st June 1781 in Pithiviers in central France. He had several older siblings who failed to survive childhood. As a result a great deal of effort was made by his parents to give Siméon-Denis  a good start to life, his father teaching him to read and write.

Poisson was sent to study with his uncle who was a surgeon, but he had no interest in following a medical profession and in 1798 began to study mathematics at  the École Polytechnique in Paris. Here he was taught by many famous mathematicians such as Laplace and Lagrange and his exceptional mathematical ability led to him being offered a position at the  École.

Poisson worked on a wide range of mathematics and in 1837 published a paper which included the Poisson Distribution, describing the probability that a random event will occur in a time or space interval under the conditions that the probability of the event occurring is very small, but the number of trials is very large so that the event actually occurs a few times.

Poisson published over 300 mathematical works and is reported to have said "Life is good for only two things, discovering mathematics and teaching mathematics."

I have explored the National STEM centre eLibrary and collated the following list to support the teaching and learning of probability.


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