He was an active republican during the revolution, interior minister in the cabinet of Napoleon, royalist and peer after the Bourbon Restoration. However, we know Laplace as outstanding physicist, mathematician and astronomer. The peasant’s son finished Benedictine school being a convinced atheist. He had no political principles at all. Teacher of mathematics at a military school, Laplace highly appreciated the success of cadet Bonaparte, and the relations between the teacher and student were warm throughout the emperor’s entire life. However, Laplace was still removed from the minister’s office – for “introducing the theory of infinitely small values into state policy,” as Bonaparte formulated. A real dialogue between the scientist and emperor is even retold as a historical anecdote:
- You have written such a thick book about the world system and never mentioned its Creator!
- I did not need this hypothesis, Sir.
Without the Creator’s assistance, but exclusively thanks to his work and talent, Pierre-Simon Laplace worked out the methods of mathematical physics, advanced linear algebra, actually created the probability theory, and is known as founding father of celestial mechanics. Besides, the whole world respects Laplace for introducing metric system. Otherwise, we would still measure in feet and inches.