Claude-Louis Navier

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Claude-Louis Navier
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Bust of Claude Louis Marie Henri Navier at the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées
Claude Louis Marie Henri Navier

(1785-02-10)10 February 1785
Died21 August 1836(1836-08-21) (aged 51)
Alma mater École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées
Known for Navier–Stokes equations
Scientific career
Fields Mathematical physics
Institutions École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées
École polytechnique
French Academy of Science
Academic advisors Joseph Fourier

Claude-Louis Navier (born Claude Louis Marie Henri Navier; French:  [klod lwi maʁi ɑ̃ʁi navje] ; 10 February 1785 – 21 August 1836), was a French engineer and physicist who specialized in mechanics.

Engineer Professional practitioner of engineering and its sub classes

Engineers, as practitioners of engineering, are professionals who invent, design, analyze, build, and test machines, systems, structures and materials to fulfill objectives and requirements while considering the limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and cost. The word engineer is derived from the Latin words ingeniare and ingenium ("cleverness"). The foundational qualifications of an engineer typically include a four-year bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline, or in some jurisdictions, a master's degree in an engineering discipline plus four to six years of peer-reviewed professional practice and passage of engineering board examinations.

Physicist scientist who does research in physics

A physicist is a scientist who specializes in the field of physics, which encompasses the interactions of matter and energy at all length and time scales in the physical universe. Physicists generally are interested in the root or ultimate causes of phenomena, and usually frame their understanding in mathematical terms. Physicists work across a wide range of research fields, spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic and particle physics, through biological physics, to cosmological length scales encompassing the universe as a whole. The field generally includes two types of physicists: experimental physicists who specialize in the observation of physical phenomena and the analysis of experiments, and theoretical physicists who specialize in mathematical modeling of physical systems to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena. Physicists can apply their knowledge towards solving practical problems or to developing new technologies.


The Navier–Stokes equations are named after him and George Gabriel Stokes.

In physics, the Navier–Stokes equations, named after Claude-Louis Navier and George Gabriel Stokes, describe the motion of viscous fluid substances.


After the death of his father in 1793, Navier's mother left his education in the hands of his uncle Émiland Gauthey, an engineer with the Corps of Bridges and Roads (Corps des Ponts et Chaussées). In 1802, Navier enrolled at the École polytechnique, and in 1804 continued his studies at the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, from which he graduated in 1806. He eventually succeeded his uncle as Inspecteur general at the Corps des Ponts et Chaussées.

Émiland Marie Gauthey was a French mathematician, civil engineer and architect. As an engineer for the États de Bourgogne, he was the creator of a great deal of the region's civil infrastructure, such as the Canal du Centre between Digoin and Chalon-sur-Saône (1784–1793), bridges including those at Navilly (1782–1790) and Gueugnon (1784–1787), and buildings such as the Eglise Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul at Givry (Saône-et-Loire) and the theatre at Chalon-sur-Saône.

He directed the construction of bridges at Choisy, Asnières and Argenteuil in the Department of the Seine, and built a footbridge to the Île de la Cité in Paris. His 1824 design for the Pont des Invalides failed to leave a safety margin on top of his calculations, and after cracking the bridge had to be dismantled, destroying Navier's bridge-building reputation. He was chastised by a government committee for relying too much on mathematics. [1]

Île de la Cité Island in the river Seine, Paris, France

The Île de la Cité is one of two remaining natural islands in the Seine within the city of Paris. It is the centre of Paris and the location where the medieval city was refounded.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, as well as the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zurich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018. The city is a major railway, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, and is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, but the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015.

Pont des Invalides bridge

The Pont des Invalides is the lowest bridge traversing the Seine in Paris.

In 1824, Navier was admitted into the French Academy of Science. In 1830, he took up a professorship at the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, and in the following year succeeded exiled Augustin Louis Cauchy as professor of calculus and mechanics at the École polytechnique.

Calculus, originally called infinitesimal calculus or "the calculus of infinitesimals", is the mathematical study of continuous change, in the same way that geometry is the study of shape and algebra is the study of generalizations of arithmetic operations.

Mechanics is that area of science concerned with the behaviour of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effects of the bodies on their environment. The scientific discipline has its origins in Ancient Greece with the writings of Aristotle and Archimedes. During the early modern period, scientists such as Galileo, Kepler, and Newton laid the foundation for what is now known as classical mechanics. It is a branch of classical physics that deals with particles that are either at rest or are moving with velocities significantly less than the speed of light. It can also be defined as a branch of science which deals with the motion of and forces on objects. The field is yet less widely understood in terms of quantum theory.


Navier formulated the general theory of elasticity in a mathematically usable form (1821), making it available to the field of construction with sufficient accuracy for the first time. In 1819 he succeeded in determining the zero line of mechanical stress, finally correcting Galileo Galilei's incorrect results, and in 1826 he established the elastic modulus as a property of materials independent of the second moment of area. Navier is therefore often considered to be the founder of modern structural analysis.

His major contribution however remains the Navier–Stokes equations (1822), central to fluid mechanics.

His name is one of the 72 names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower.

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