But Fourier, having succeeded in altering the very character of both engineering and mathematics, spent his last days swathed, mummy-like in warm clothing, in his overheated Paris apartment.
I'm John Lienhard, at the University of Houston, where we're interested in the way inventive minds work. (no author given) For some application of Fourier's work to heat transfer, see J.
He was already beginning his European conquests while his Egypt forces were collapsing. Meanwhile Napoleon's reign collapsed, and he was exiled to Elba.
When they returned in defeat, Napoleon made Fourier the Prefect of Isère -- kind of like an American state governor. He built roads and engineered a land-drainage program. When Napoleon tried to return to power, Fourier fled. Some people are more dangerous as friends than as enemies.
He proceeded in 1780 to the École Royale Militaire of Auxerre where at first he showed talents for literature but very soon, by the age of thirteen, mathematics became his real interest.
By the age of 14 he had completed a study of the six volumes of Bézout's Cours de mathématiques.Joseph Fourier, in full Jean-Baptiste-Joseph, Baron Fourier, (born March 21, 1768, Auxerre, France—died May 16, 1830, Paris), French mathematician, known also as an Egyptologist and administrator, who exerted strong influence on mathematical physics through his boundary-value problems, encompassing many natural occurrences such as sunspots, tides, and the weather.His work also had a great influence on the theory of functions of a real variable, one of the main branches of modern mathematics.The ideals of the French Revolution then swept him into politics, and more than once his life was in danger.When the École Normale was founded in 1794 in Paris, he was among its first students, and, in 1795, he became a teacher there.His first schooling was at Pallais's school, run by the music master from the cathedral.There Joseph studied Latin and French and showed great promise.He showed how to describe heat flow in solid bodies, but he did much more.He created a whole new form of applied mathematics.Fourier, the son of a tailor, first attended the local military school conducted by Benedictine monks.He showed such proficiency in mathematics in his early years that he later became a teacher in mathematics at the same school.