Pierre Simon Laplace was born in Normandy, France in 1749, and was educated at the military school in Beaumont.
Laplace's greatest scientific contribution was the application of Newton's universal law of gravitation to the motion of the planets. He also developed an early cosmological theory of the origin of the solar system. Laplace wrote Triaté de Céleste Méchanique (Treatise on Celestial Mechanics), published in five volumes from 1799 to 1825, and Exposition de Syteme de Monde (Explanation of the World System) in 1796.
Laplace contributed greatly to the early mathematical theory of probability. He wrote Theorie Analytique des Probabilites, (Analytical Theory of Probability) in 1812 and Philosophical Essay on Probabilities in 1814. One of his contributions was an improvement on the normal approximation to the binomial distribution, that had been derived by Abraham DeMoivre.