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The Bernoulli family (German pronunciation: [bɛʁˈnʊli][1]) of Basel is a patrician family, notable for having produced eight mathematically gifted academics who, between them, contributed to the foundations of applied mathematics and physics during the early modern period. Originally from Antwerp, Belgium, they moved to Basel and gained Swiss citizenship in 1620.[2] The family was related by marriage to the prominent French academic dynasty, Curie family through Johann Bernoulli (1667–1748). While their origin in Antwerp is certain, proposed connections with the Dutch family Bornouilla, Bernoullie or the Castilian family de Bernuy (Bernoille, Bernouille) are uncertain.[2]

Current region Basel, Switzerland
Place of origin Antwerp, Belgium

The first known member of the family was Leon Bernoulli (d. 1561), a doctor in Antwerp, at that time, part of the Spanish Netherlands. His son, Jacob, emigrated to Frankfurt am Main in 1570 to escape from the Spanish persecution of the Huguenots. Jacob’s grandson, a spice trader, also named Jacob, moved to Basel, Switzerland in 1620, and was granted Basel citizenship in 1622.[2] His son, Niklaus (Nicolaus, 1623–1708), Leon's great-great-grandson, married Margarethe Schönauer. Niklaus had four sons, of which Johann and Hieronyus became the progenitors of the "greater" and the "lesser" branch of the family, respectively. The four sons of Niklaus were:

In addition to those mentioned above, the Bernoulli family produced many notable artists and scientists, in particular, a number of famous mathematicians in the 18th century:

The surname survives in Switzerland, with ten entries in the white pages for the city of Basel as of 2018.[3]


Named for members of the familyEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ German pronunciation from Mangold, Max (1990) Duden — Das Aussprachewörterbuch. 3. Auflage. Mannheim/Wien/Zürich, Dudenverlag. In a tradition going back to the 18th century ( Tronson du Coudray, L'artillerie nouvelle, 1773, p. 195), the name was spelled Bernouilli in France, and accordingly given the French pronunciation of [bɛʁnuˈji]. This is no longer the case, and the name is now spelled in the original form Bernoulli also in French-language context. Rue Bernoulli in Paris 8 was named rue Bernouilli in 1867 and renamed to the correct spelling in 1994 ( Bernoulli crater was spelled Bernouilli in the moon atlas by Beer & Mädler (1836), and hence adopted as the official name by the IAU in 1935; the IAU changed the official name to Bernoulli in 2003. The French submarine Bernouilli (1906) was named for Daniel Bernoulli.
  2. ^ a b c René Bernoulli-Sutter: Bernoulli family in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland, 2004.
  3. ^
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