Pierre -Simon Laplace
Laplace seeks employment. When Laplace arrived as a young man in Paris seeking a professorship of mathematics, he submitted his recommendations by prominent people to d'Alembert, but was not received. Returning to his lodgings, Laplace wrote d'Alembert a brilliant letter on the general principles of mechanics. This opened the door, and d'Alembert replied: "Sir, you notice that I paid little attention to your recommendations. You don't need any; you have introduced yourself better." A few days later Laplace was appointed professor of mathematics at the Military School of Paris.
The Newton of France. Laplace's great five-volume work, the Me'chanique ce'leste (1799-1825), earned him the title of "the Newton of France." The work embraced all previous discoveries in this field along with Laplace's own contributions, and marked the author as the unrivaled master in the subject. The work has been called the Almagest of modern times.
An unneeded hypothesis. When Napoleon teasingly remarked to Laplace that God is not mentioned in the Me'chanique ce'leste, Laplace replied, " Sire, I did not need that hypothesis." When Napoleon later reported this reply to Lagrange, the latter remarked, "Ah, but that is a fine hypothesis. It explains so many things."
Laplace's "stepchildren." For all his slippery politics and tendencies towards snobbishness, Laplace did extend sincere generosity to beginners. Blot has told that as a young man he once read a scientific paper before a session of the French Academy at which Laplace was present. Afterwards, Laplace drew him aside and showed him the identical discovery in one of his own old but still unpublished manuscripts. Cautioning young Blot to secrecy, Laplace urged him to go ahead and publish his work.
Laplace used to say that young beginners in mathematical research were his stepchildren, and there are several instances in which he withheld publication of a discovery to allow a beginner the opportunity to publish first. Sadly, such generosity is rare in mathematics.