Daniel Bernoulli Biography: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Meredith Fontana
In this lesson, we will examine the life of Daniel Bernoulli and how despite being pressured to pursue other interests by his father, he decided to follow his heart and make mathematics and science the focal point of his life. Daniel's passion for mathematics (among other disciplines) lead him to live a life devoted to his studies. The achievements and discoveries he would make were a result of remaining true to himself.

Daniel Bernoulli
Daniel Bernoulli

Good at everything

Imagine being good at anything you set your mind to. It seems as if some people are capable of success no matter what they pursue. Daniel Bernoulli, famed mathematician and scientist, is one such person who lead a very accomplished life by putting his efforts towards many disciplines.

The beginning for Daniel Bernoulli

Daniel was the second son of Johann Bernoulli, a mathematician and medical doctor, and Dorothea Falkner. He was born on February 8, 1700 in Groningen, Netherlands. When his father became head of the mathematics department of Basel University, Daniel moved to Switzerland with his family at age five. As an adolescent, Daniel, like his father and his brothers, had a passion for studying mathematics, but at age fifteen Daniel would go on to study logic, medicine, and philosophy at Heidelberg, Strasburg, and Basel Universities. He decided to study these disciplines instead of mathematics because his father wanted him to have a better paying job. Although he didn't not formally study math at a university, it is believed that he learned it from his father (from whom he learned about energy conservation) and brother, Nicolaus.

Discoveries made in math and science while pursuing medicine

To pursue his application in medicine, a young Bernoulli went to Venice, but still yearned to learn more about applied mathematics. As a result of his own personal studies, Daniel made discoveries regarding geometry and probability theory and in 1724 published Mathematical Exercises. As a result of his work on this paper, Bernoulli was hired as a professor of physiology at the University of St. Petersburg, Russia in 1725. It wasn't until 1730 though that he was offered a professorship in mathematics at that school. During his time in Russia, Daniel made perhaps the biggest revelation of his lifetime based on his studies of the movement of fluids. In his paper, Hydrodynamica, that was published in 1738, Bernoulli described what we know as Bernoulli's Principle. When there is an increase in fluid speed, the pressure will fall or there is a decrease in potential energy. We know now that his discovery explains how airplanes can lift off for flight. Can you imagine if he had not made this discovery? Would we have airplanes today?


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