(1749 - 1827)
Born in 1749 to a comfortably middle-class family, Pierre-Simon Laplace read theology at the University of Caen, after which he planned, on the wishes of his father, to be ordained as a Roman Catholic priest. While a student Laplace showed an exceptional aptitude for mathematics, and embarked upon an intellectual career that would see him publish influential works in mathematics, astronomy, and probability. He became a count of the First French Empire in 1806 and a marquis in 1817. After his death, his brain was displayed in a British anatomical museum.