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Pierre Méchain

1744 - 1804

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Pierre François André Méchain (French pronunciation: ​[pjɛʁ fʁɑ̃swa ɑ̃dʁe meʃɛ̃]; 16 August 1744 – 20 September 1804) was a French astronomer and surveyor who, with Charles Messier, was a major contributor to the early study of deep-sky objects and comets. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of Pierre Méchain has received more than 85,613 page views. His biography is available in 39 different languages on Wikipedia. Pierre Méchain is the 56th most popular astronomer (down from 48th in 2019), the 918th most popular biography from France (down from 826th in 2019) and the 4th most popular French Astronomer.

Pierre Méchain is most famous for his work in measuring the circumference of the Earth. In 1787, he and his colleague Jean-Baptiste Delambre set out to measure the distance between the two cities of Dunkirk and Barcelona. They measured the length of a degree of latitude, and then multiplied that by the number of degrees in a circle, and then multiplied that by the radius of the Earth.

Memorability Metrics

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    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 39

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 11.69

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 2.19

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)

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Among astronomers, Pierre Méchain ranks 56 out of 531Before him are Johann Palisa, Jérôme Lalande, Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille, Pieter van Musschenbroek, Varāhamihira, and John Flamsteed. After him are Girolamo Fracastoro, Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve, Martin Ryle, Jacques Cassini, Vera Rubin, and Percival Lowell.

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Among people born in 1744, Pierre Méchain ranks 6Before him are Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Johann Gottfried Herder, Frederick William II of Prussia, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. After him are Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg, Abigail Adams, Infanta Maria Josefa of Spain, Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel, Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, and Marianna Martines. Among people deceased in 1804, Pierre Méchain ranks 7Before him are Immanuel Kant, Joseph Priestley, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, Jacques Necker, Alexander Hamilton, and Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria. After him are Wolfgang von Kempelen, Louis Antoine, Duke of Enghien, Princess Carolina of Parma, Jean-Charles Pichegru, Jazzar Pasha, and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo.

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In France

Among people born in France, Pierre Méchain ranks 918 out of 6,011Before him are Philibert II, Duke of Savoy (1480), Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle (1657), Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772), Joan II, Countess of Burgundy (1292), Philippe Ariès (1914), and Michael Lonsdale (1931). After him are René Clément (1913), Edgar Morin (1921), Maurice Quentin de La Tour (1704), Saint Eligius (588), Claude Lelouch (1937), and Francis Lai (1932).


Among astronomers born in France, Pierre Méchain ranks 4Before him are Charles Messier (1730), Jérôme Lalande (1732), and Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille (1713). After him are Jacques Cassini (1677), Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1580), Édouard Stephan (1837), Alphonse Borrelly (1842), Pierre Janssen (1824), Joseph-Nicolas Delisle (1688), Guillaume Bigourdan (1851), and Bernard Lyot (1897).