Johann Heinrich Lambert was born on August 26, 1728 at Mulhausen, Alsace, now Mulhouse, France. He died on September 25, 1777 at Berlin. Swiss-German mathematician, astronomer, physicist, and philosopher who provided the first rigorous proof than π (the ration of a circle’s circumference to its diameter) is irrational, meaning it cannot be expressed as the quotient of two integers.
The son of tailor, Lambert was largely self-educated and early began geometric and astronomical investigations by means of instruments he designed and built himself. He worked for a time as a bookkeeper, secretary and editor. As a private tutor in 1748, he gained access to a good library, which he utilized for self-improvement until 1759, when he resigned to settle in Augsburg. In 1764 he went to Berlin, where he received the patronage of Frederick the Great. His memoir containing the proof that π is irrational was published in 1768. In 1774 at ‘Berlin, he became editor of Astronomisches Jahrbuch oder Ephemeriden, an astronomical almanac.
Lambert made the first systematic development of hyperbolic functions. He is also responsible for many innovations in the study of heat and light. The lambert, a measurement of light intensity, was named in his honour. Among his most important works are Photometria (1760), Die Theorie der Parallellinien (1766; “The Theory of Parallel Lines”), and Pyrometrie (1779). The Neues Organon (1764; “New Organon”), his principal philosophical work, contains and analysis of a great variety of questions, among them formal logic, probability, and the principles of science.