Mathematician and writer.
Received a religious education before studying mathematics at Paris (1758). Admitted as a geometrician to the Académie des sciences (1769).
Became assistant to the permanent secretary (1773). Named inspecteur des monnais (1774). Wrote the biographies of the members of the Academy (1773-93). Admitted to the Académie française (1782). Named permanent secretary of the Academy of Sciences (1785).
Very active during the French Revolution. Elected vice-president and president of the Assemblée législative (1791). Arrested and imprisoned (1794). Poisoned himself in his cell.
Born in Ribemont, l’Aisne.