Joseph Fourier is Still Transforming Science

Key Words: 250 years anniversary

  • Yesterdays: Fourier discovered Heat is a wave , Fourier Series, Fourier Transformation, Signal processing…
  • Today: IT imaging JPEG compression, Wavelets, 3G/4G Telecommunications, Gravitational waves …
  • Friends / bosses: Napoleon, Monge… Egypt Expedition with Napoleon Army.
  • Taught at the newly established Military Engineering University “Ecole Polytechnique”.
  • Scientific Research: Short period but intense.
  • Before Fourier died (he wrapped himself with thick blanket in hot summer), he was reviewing another young Math genius Evariste Galois’s paper on “Group Theory”.


Louis-Le-Grand, un lycée d’élite 法国(巴黎)精英学校: 路易大帝高级中学

Lycée Louis-Le-Grand, founded since 1563, is the best high school (lycée, 高中 1~3) for Math in France – if not in the world – it produced many world-class mathematicians, among them “The Father of Modern Math” in 19th century the genius Evariste Galois, Charles Hermite, the 20th CE PolyMath Henri Poincaré, (See also: Unknown Math Teacher produced two World’s Math Grand Master Students ), Molière, Romaine Rolland (罗曼.罗兰), Jean-Paul Satre, Victor Hugo, 3 French Presidents, etc.

Its Baccalauréat (A-level) result is outstanding – 100% passed with 77% scoring distinctions. Each year 1/4 of Ecole Polytechnique (*) (France Top Engineering Grande Ecole ) students come from here.

More surprisingly, the “Seconde” (Secondary 4 ~ 中国/法国 “高一”) students learn Chinese Math since 6ème (Primary 6).

Note : Below is the little girl Heloïse (on blackboard in Chinese Math Class) whose admission application letter to the high school :

Translation – I practise Chinese since 6ème (Primary 6), 5 hours a week. I know that your school teaches 1 hour in Chinese Math, which very much interests me because Chinese and Mathematics are actually the 2 subjects I like most.

Interviewer asked Heloïse :

Q: Why do you learn Chinese?

A: It is to prepare (myself) for working in China in the future, to immerse now in the language of environment. Anyway, the Chinese mode of operation is so different from ours.

Note : Louis Le Grand (= Louis 14th). He sent in 1687 AD the Jesuits (天主教的一支: 耶稣会传教士) as the “French King’s Mathematicians”(eg. Bouvet 白晋) to teach the 26-year-old Chinese Emperor (康熙) KangXi in Euclidean Geometry, etc.

Note (*): 5 Singaporeans (out of 300+ French Scholarship students) had entered Ecole Polytechnique through Classes Préparatoires / Concours aux Grandes Ecoles in native French language since 1980 to 2011. It is possible one day some of these elite French boys and girls could enter China top universities via “Gaokao” (高考 ~ “Concours”) in native Chinese language.

French Math “Coniques” : ellipses, paraboles, hyperboles.

French Math is unique in treating these 3 conic curves: (ellipse, parabola, hyperbola), always starts from the first principle – a la the Cartesian Spirit “I think therefore I am” (我思故我在).

“Catersian” Analytical Geometry was co-invented by two 17CE French mathematicians René Déscartes and Pierre de Fermat.

Note: The “elliptic curve” is a powerful geometry tool used in Number Theory (proved the 350-year-old Fermat’s Last Theorem in 1994 by Andrew Wiles), also in the most advanced Encryption algorithm.

Singapour : Les Maths Singapour- Une Methode Miracle

“Singapore Math” was a derivative of ancient Chinese Math, modified and combined with “Polya Problem Solving Method ” by a Singapore Professor Lee Peng Yee (李秉彝) from Nanyang Technological University (NTU)’s NIE (National Institute of Education). Prof Lee was the first batch of Nantah University 南洋大学 (the precursor of NTU) Math undergraduate in late 1950s, who obtained PhD Math in Queen’s University (Belfast).

In 2005 during his public Math Olympiad books launching seminar at NUS bookshop, the 70-year-old Prof Lee started his talk on the genesis of “Singapore Math” idea with this famous ancient Chinese Math “Chicken and Rabbits” (鸡兔问题)。

Comments on Singapore Math :

1. The Pros & Cons

Pros: Concrete Chinese Arithmetic , Polya Problem Solving Pedagogy, Visualisation with Models. PLUS: well trained Math teachers, “educated” parents (revision class for them) or hire private Math home tutor.

Cons: Lack abstract training for Primary 5 & 6 kids (11-12 years old ) in Algebra equations (postponed to Secondary 1 @13 years old). The Chinese (上海) kids start Algebra before Singapore kids. Also French kids start abstract (Set Theory) concepts earlier than Asian kids.

2. UK Textbooks follow Singapore Math

La remise du rapport Villani au Ministre de l’Education nationale Mr. Blanquer préconisant 21 mesures pour l’enseignement des mathématiques en France, a mis à l’honneur, par ricochet et par voix de presse, la méthode de Singapour pour l’apprentissage des maths.

Note: French Mathematician Cédric Villani (Fields Medalist 2010) joins President Macron’s Political Party as a deputé (= Member of Parliament).

Why are Singapore school kids so strong in Math ? (World #1 PISA Test in 2016)

Every (Singapore) school is a good school” – Mr. Heng (Former Minister of Education of Singapore)

Reform in French Baccalaureat

Current Baccalaureat Drawback:

  • Study too many subjects,
  • High Drop out

New Reform:

  • Specialised on 4 major subjects – include compulsory French Literature (penultimate year before Bac) & Philosophy.
  • ala British A-level on 4 Advanced Subjects (eg. For Science stream: 1. Math, 2.Physics, 3.Chemistry /& Biology, 4.Economics) + 1 “Ordinary” Subject (English General Papers) + Project (Social / current affairs)

Franco-Anglo Mathematics Research Cooperation

French people are rational (think before action), English people are imperative (action before think).

17CE French Mathematician & Philosopher René Descarte : “I think therefore I am” 我思故我在 。He invented Analytical Geometry (xyz cartesian geometry).

De Moivre Theorem:
(cos \: {x} + i.sin \: {x})^{n} = cos \: {nx} + i.sin \: {nx}