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Coriolis Effect


The Coriolis effect was first described by Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis, for whom the effect is named. Coriolis (1792–1843) was a French mathematician and engineer who graduated in highway engineering. He was a professor of mechanics at the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures and later at the École des Ponts et Chaussées. Coriolis studied the motions of moving parts in machines relative to the fixed parts. His special gift was for interpreting and adapting theories to applied mathematics and mechanics. Coriolis was an assistant professor of mechanics and analysis and later director of studies at the École Polytechnique in Paris from 1816 to 1838 where he gave the terms "work" and "kinetic energy" their scientific and practical meanings, which are still used today.

Coriolis authored several books. His first, Du calcul de l'effet des machines (On the calculation of mechanical action) was published in 1829 and discussed applied mechanics. He also wrote Théorie math‚matique des effects du jeu de billiard (Mathematical theory of the game of billiards) in 1835, and his understanding of the motions of billiard balls was directly related to his study of other solid bodies like the planets and especially planet Earth. In 1835, he published a paper called "Sur les équations du mouvement relatif des systemes des corps" ("On the equations of relative motion of systems of bodies"), which described the force later named the Coriolis effect. Publication of this paper changed the studies of meteorology (weather), ballistics, oceanography, and astronomy as well as mechanics. The Coriolis effect and other mechanical principles were also described in a book published in 1844 after Coriolis' death and titled Traité de la méchanique des corps solides (Treatise on the mechanics of solid bodies).

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Condensation to CoshCoriolis Effect - Behavior Of Objects Under The Coriolis Effect, History, Significance Of The Coriolis Effect