Jean le Rond d’Alembert

1717 (Paris) – 1783 (Paris)

Key player in the French Enlightenment. Diderot and d’Alembert were co-editors of the Encyclopédie, Rousseau as well as Buffon a noted contributor, and Voltaire one of the project’s greatest supporters. D’Alembert encouraged Monge to submit papers to the Académie des Sciences, helped the mathematicians Legendre, Condorcet and Lagrange up the professional ladder, but was put out to feel that Laplace’s subsequent work made his own obsolete. Hume, Smith and Gibbon were fellow attendees at d’Holbach’s salon. Rameau had been a friend, but disagreements over the Encyclopédie soured their relations. Casanova described him as the most modest man he’d ever known.