Attempts have been made by Laplace and his successors to fix certain limits within which the obliquity of the ecliptic shall always be confined.
They remained untold, for he died two days later on the 10th of April, and was buried in the Pantheon, the funeral oration being pronounced by Laplace and Lacepede.
In preparation for these he spent the winter of 1877-1878 in reading up original treatises like those of Laplace and Lagrange on mathematics and mechanics, and in attending courses on practical physics under P. G.
But for those who wish to study the molecular constitution of bodies it is necessary to study the effect of forces which are sensible only at insensible distances; and Laplace has furnished us with an example of the method of this study which has never been surpassed.
The device known as the method of least squares, for reducing numerous equations of condition to the number of unknown quantities to be determined, had been adopted as a practically convenient rule by Gauss and Legendre; but Laplace first treated it as a problem in probabilities, and proved by an intricate and difficult course of reasoning that it was also the most advantageous, the mean of the probabilities of error in the determination of the elements being thereby reduced to a minimum.
The career of Laplace was one of scarcely interrupted prosperity.
The application of this to telegraphic purposes was suggested by Laplace and taken up by Ampere, and afterwards by Triboaillet and by Schilling, whose work forms the foundation of much of modern telegraphy.
Considering that our sun is but a star, or but one of the millions of stars, it is of interest to see whether any other systems present indication of a nebulous origin analogous to that which Laplace proposed for the solar system.
By his discovery that the attracting force in any direction of a mass upon a particle could be obtained by the direct process of differentiating a single function, Laplace laid the foundations of the mathematical sciences of heat, electricity and magnetism.
But Laplace unquestionably surpassed his rival in practical sagacity and the intuition of physical truth.