Biography of Leclerc, Georges-Louis, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788)

Georges -Louis Leclerc was born into the wealth and prestige of the French Aristocracy. He was a French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist and encyclopediste. His work influenced the next 2 generations of naturalists. 

Comte de Buffon is remembered for his comprehensive work on Natural History. Perhaps his greatest contribution was his encyclopedia, Historie Naurelle. Projected to occupy 50 volumes, Leclerc’s encyclopedia sought to write comprehensively covering everything known to the natural world. 

Leclerc was born in Burgundy and was named after his mother’s uncle who was also his godfather, the Duke of Savoy and for all of Sicily. His godfather died childless leaving his considerable fortune to the 7 seven year old Leclerc. His family bought a property in Dijon where they moved and where he was educated. 

He moved on to study mathematics and medicine at the University of Angiers where he met the young English Duke of Kingston. In the company of the Duke, he travelled for a year and a half throughout Europe. There is undocumented evidence of a wild old time in the company of the Duke, and there were persistent rumours of duels, abductions and secret trips to England.

With his wandering days over, he returned to France to claim his inheritance. He bought back the town of Buffon which his father had sold, hence the name Comte de Buffon.

Using his considerable fortune, Buffon set himself up in Paris to pursue science, ,  primarily mathematics and mechanics and to increase his fortune.

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