Louis Poinsot

French mathematician and physicist (1777-1859)

Louis Poinsot (January 3, 1777December 5, 1859) was a French mathematician and physicist. Poinsot was the inventor of geometrical mechanics, showing how a system of forces acting on a rigid body could be resolved into a single force and a couple.


  • For we may remark generally of our mathematical researches, that these auxiliary quantities, these long and difficult calculations into which we are often drawn, are almost always proofs that we have not in the beginning considered the objects themselves so thoroughly and directly as their nature requires, since all is abridged and simplified, as soon as we place ourselves in a right point of view.
    • Louis Poinsot, translated by Charles Thomas Whitley (1834). Outlines of a new theory of rotatory motion. R. Newby (Cambridge). p. 4. 
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