4-59. Paul Painlevé

Paul Painlevé (1863–1933) was the son of a graphic artist and lithographer; his uncle was a printer. He attended the École normale supérieure, and obtained the agrégation in mathematics in 1886. In 1896 he was the suppléant to Maurice Lévy at the Collège de France, in the chair of analytical mechanics and celestial mechanics. In 1903, he obtained the new chair in general mathematics at the Paris Faculty of Sciences, and in 1905, was also professor of rational mechanics at the École polytechnique.

Painlevé had a brilliant career both in science and politics. He served as minister of education in 1915–1916, minister of war in 1917, council president and minister of war in 1925, among other positions. He joined Poincaré in the geometry section of the Paris Academy of Sciences on 10 December, 1900, and was a member of the Bureau of Longitudes. When Painlevé died in 1933, he was buried in the Panthéon. His son, Jean Painlevé (1902–1989), was a renowned film director and producer.11endnote: 1 Institut de France (1968, 417), Charle and Telkes (1989, 212).


  • 1 Institut de France (1968, 417), Charle and Telkes (1989, 212).


  • C. Charle and E. Telkes (1989) Les professeurs de la Faculté des sciences de Paris (1901–1939): dictionnaire biographique. Éditions du CNRS, Paris. link1 Cited by: endnote 1.
  • Institut de France (Ed.) (1968) Index biographique des membres et correspondants de l’Académie des sciences. Gauthier-Villars, Paris. Cited by: endnote 1.