Nicolaus I Bernoulli

Nicolaus Bernoulli (also spelled Nicolas or Nikolas; 21 October 1687, Basel – 29 November 1759, Basel) was a Swiss mathematician and was one of the many prominent mathematicians in the Bernoulli family.

Epitaph for Nikolaus I Bernoulli in the Peterskirche (Basel) [de]


He was the son of Nicolaus Bernoulli, painter and Alderman of Basel. In 1704 he graduated from the University of Basel under Jakob Bernoulli and obtained his PhD five years later (in 1709) with a work on probability theory in law. His thesis was titled Dissertatio Inauguralis Mathematico-Juridica de Usu Artis Conjectandi in Jure.[1]

In 1716 he obtained the Galileo-chair at the University of Padua, where he worked on differential equations and geometry. In 1722 he returned to Switzerland and obtained a chair in Logics at the University of Basel.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in March, 1714.[2]

His most important contributions can be found in his letters, in particular to Pierre Rémond de Montmort. In these letters, he introduced in particular the St. Petersburg Paradox. He also communicated with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Leonhard Euler.


  1. ^ The work is available online at Gallica.
  2. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 13 December 2010.[permanent dead link]

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