Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Geneva, 28 June 1712 – Ermenonville, 2 July 1778) was a major Genevois philosopher, writer, and composer of the 18th-century Enlightenment. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution and the development of modern political and educational thought. His novel, ', which he considered his most important work, is a seminal treatise on the education of the whole person for citizenship.
Marie Skłodowska Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a physicist and chemist of Polish upbringing and, subsequently, French citizenship. She was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity, the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes, receiving one in physics and later, one in chemistry. She was the first woman to serve as professor at the University of Paris. She was born Maria Skłodowska in Warsaw and lived there until she was twenty-four years old.
Pierre Curie (15 May 1859 – 19 April 1906) was a French physicist, a pioneer in crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity and radioactivity, and Nobel laureate. In 1903 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics with his wife, Maria Skłodowska-Curie, and Henri Becquerel, "in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel."
François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, essayist, and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion and free trade. Voltaire was a prolific writer and produced works in almost every literary form including plays, poetry, novels, essays, historical and scientific works, more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets.
Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de Condorcet (17 September 1743 – 28 March 1794), known as Nicolas de Condorcet, was a French philosopher, mathematician, and early political scientist who devised the concept of a Condorcet method. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he advocated a liberal economy, free and equal public education, constitutionalism, and equal rights for women and people of all races.
Victor-Marie Hugo (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France. In France, Hugo's literary fame comes first from his poetry but also rests upon his novels and his dramatic achievements. Among many volumes of poetry, ' and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem, and Hugo is sometimes identified as the greatest French poet.
Émile François Zola (2 April 1840 – 29 September 1902) was an influential French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism, an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism, and a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus which is encapsulated in the renowned newspaper headline J'Accuse.
Louis Braille (January 4, 1809 – January 6, 1852) was the inventor of braille, a worldwide system used by blind and visually impaired people for reading and writing. Braille is read by passing the fingers over characters made up of an arrangement of one to six embossed points. It has been adapted to almost every known language.
Jean Moulin (June 20, 1899 – July 8, 1943) was a high-profile member of the French Resistance during World War II. He is remembered today as an emblem of the Resistance primarily due to his courage and death at the hands of the Germans.
Jean-Paul Marat (24 May 1743 – 13 July 1793) was a Swiss-born physician, political theorist and scientist better known as a radical journalist and politician from the French Revolution. His journalism was renowned for its fiery character and uncompromising stance towards the new government, "enemies of the revolution" and basic reforms for the poorest members of society.
Joseph-Louis Lagrange (25 January 1736 – 10 April 1813), born Giuseppe Lodovico (Luigi) Lagrangia, was an Italian-born mathematician and astronomer, who lived part of his life in Prussia and part in France, making significant contributions to all fields of analysis, to number theory, and to classical and celestial mechanics.
Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Comte de Mirabeau (March 9, 1749, Le Bignon-Mirabeau, Loiret – 2 April 1791) was a French revolutionary, as well as a writer, diplomat, freemason, journalist and French politician at the same time. He was a popular orator and statesman. During the French Revolution, he was a moderate, favoring a constitutional monarchy built on the model of the United Kingdom.
Marie François Sadi Carnot (11 August 1837 – 25 June 1894) was a French statesman, the fourth president of the Third French Republic. He served as the President of France from 1887 until his assassination in 1894.
Alexandre Dumas, père, born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie (24 July 1802 – 5 December 1870) was a French writer, best known for his historical novels of high adventure which have made him one of the most widely read French authors in the world. Many of his novels, including The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne were originally serialized. He also wrote plays and magazine articles and was a prolific correspondent.
Pierre Jean George Cabanis (5 June 1757 – 5 May 1808) was a French physiologist and materialist philosopher. He was born at Cosnac, the son of Jean Baptiste Cabanis (1723-1786), a lawyer and agronomist. At the age of ten, he attended the college of Brives, where he showed great aptitude for study, but his independence of spirit was so great that he was almost constantly in a state of rebellion against his teachers and was finally expelled.
Marcellin (or Marcelin) Pierre Eugène Berthelot (25 October 1827 – 18 March 1907) was a French chemist and politician noted for the Thomsen-Berthelot principle of thermochemistry . He synthesized many organic compounds from inorganic substances and disproved the theory of vitalism. He is considered as one of the greatest chemists of all time. He was born at Paris, the son of a doctor. After doing well at school in history and philosophy, he became a scientist.
René Samuel Cassin (5 October 1887, Bayonne – 20 February 1976, Paris) was a French jurist, law professor and judge. A soldier in World War I, he later went on to form the Union Fédérale, a leftist, pacifist Veterans organisation. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1968 for his work in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. That same year, he was also awarded one of the UN's own Human Rights Prizes.
For the 20th-century Belgian Byzantinologist, see Henri Grégoire (historian) Henri Grégoire (4 December 1750 – 20 May 1831), often referred to as Abbé Grégoire, was a French Roman Catholic priest, constitutional bishop of Blois and a revolutionary leader.
Jean Lannes, 1st Duc de Montebello, 1st Sovereign Prince de Sievers (10 April 1769 – 31 May 1809) was a Marshal of France. He was one of Napoleon's most daring and talented generals. Napoleon once commented on Lannes: "I found him a pygmy and left him a giant". A personal friend of the emperor, he was allowed to address him as "tu", as opposed to "vous".