By: Isidore Singer
French mathematician; born at Metz June 16, 1782; died at Paris May 6, 1862. In 1801 he began his studies at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, where he became assistant professor in mathematics in 1803. In the following year, after obtaining his degree as "docteur ès sciences," he received a call as professor of higher mathematics to the Lyceum of Mayence, then still a French city. In 1811 he became professor at the artillery school at Mayence, and went in the same capacity to Grenoble in 1814. In 1815 he returned to Paris as librarian of the artillery central depot of St. Thomas d'Aquin, which position he retained until his death.
In 1842 he, together with Gerono, founded the "Nouvelles Annales de Mathématiques" (continued by Charles Brisse). He also edited, from 1855 to 1861, the "Bulletin de Bibliographie, d'Histoire et de Biographie de Mathématiques."
In 1852, when Napoleon III. visited the Musée d'Artillerie, Olry Terquem was created an officer of the Legion of Honor. His funeral, which was attended by General Lebœuf as representative of the emperor, and a dozen other generals, all his former pupils, was remarkable in that Terquem insisted on being buried according to the rites of Judaism, although no other member of his family remained true to his ancestral faith. Isidor, chief rabbi of France, officiated; but General de Bressolles as representative of the minister of war delivered the funeral oration.
Besides several handbooks on elementary mathematics and mechanics, a "Commentaire sur la Mécanique Céleste [of Laplace]," and a "Histoire d'Artillerie" (the latter two works remaining unfinished), Terquem wrote "Lettres Tsarphatiques" (nine pamphlets, Paris, 1831-37), which were first published in the "Journal de la Moselle." In these letters he pleaded for the introduction of reforms in Judaism, especially for a Sunday Sabbath.
Terquem contributed also several treatises to the French Bible translation by S. Cahen, and a great number of articles to the "Archives Israélites."
- E. Prouhet, in Bulletin de Bibliographie, d'Histoire et de Biographie de Mathématiques, 1861, pp. 81-90;
- Archives Israélites, 1862, pp. 313-320;
- La Grande Encyclopédie;
- Fuenn, Keneset Yisrael, s.v. Olry Terquem.