(1809-1882) French mathematician whose main influence was as the founder and first editor 1836–74 of the Journal de Mathématiques Pures et Appliqués, which became known as the Journal de Liouville.
Liouville was born in St Omer, Pas-de-Calais, and studied in Paris at the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées. From 1831 for 50 years, he taught mathematics at all the leading institutions of higher learning in Paris, becoming professor 1838 at the Ecole Polytechnique. He was also for a time the director of the Bureau de Longitudes. During the revolutions of 1848, he was elected as a moderate republican to the constituent assembly, but lost his seat the following year.
The chief mathematical interest of his career was in analysis.
In that field he published more than 100 papers between 1832 and 1857. In collaboration with Charles-François Sturm (1803–1855), Liouville published papers in 1836 on vibration, which laid the foundations of the theory of linear differential equations. He also provided the first proof of the existence of transcendental functions.