|Châtelet, Emilie du
Émilie du Châtelet was the daughter of baron Louis Nicholas le Tonnelier de Breteuil and Gabrielle Anne de Froullay, Baronne de Breteuil. Her father was an official at the Court of Louis XIV at Versailles until Louis XIV died in 1715. In her childhood, du Châtelet was tutored privately (as was common for those of her class) in Latin, Italian and English, as well as in philosophy and mathematics. In 1725, she married Marquis Florent-Claude du Châtelet-Lomont, a governor of Semur-en-Auxois in Burgundy, with whom she had three children. In 1733, she met Voltaire, who became her lover and life-long intellectual companion. In 1749, du Châtelet died in child birth at the court of the Duke of Lorraine. Du Châtelet’s major contributions to the Enlightenment include her French translation of Newton’s Principia, for which she provided commentary, with the mathematician Alexis Clairaut; which is still the only complete French translation of the work. She also translated work of Bernard Mandeville, for which she provided a substantial preface. In addition, her Institutions de physique was written as lessons for her son in physics and also contains substantial presentation of her metaphysics; her Discourse on happiness contains her views in ethics. She also authored scientific works, including her Dissertation sur la nature et la propagation du feu, which was published by the Académie des Sciences, an influential forum for the development of science, in 1744, and a manuscript on optics.