Pierre-Simon, marquis de Laplace (March 23, 1749 - March 5, 1827) was a French mathematician and astronomer whose work was pivotal to the development of mathematical astronomy. He summarized and extended the work of his predecessors in his five volume Mécanique Céleste (Celestial Mechanics) (1799-1825). This seminal work translated the geometric study of classical mechanics, used by Isaac Newton, to one based on calculus, opening up a broader range of problems.
He formulated Laplace's equation, and invented the Laplace transform which appears in many branches of mathematical physics, a field that he took a leading role in forming. The Laplacian differential operator, widely used in applied mathematics, is also named after him.
Independently from Immanuel Kant, he formulated the nebular hypothesis of the origin of the solar system and was one of the first scientists to postulate the existence of black holes and the notion of gravitational collapse.
He is remembered as one of the greatest scientists of all time, sometimes referred to as a French Newton or Newton of France, with a natural phenomenal mathematical faculty possessed by none of his contemporaries.
He became a count of the First French Empire in 1806 and was named a marquis in 1817, after the Bourbon Restoration.