Why is Lagrange buried in the Panthéon in Paris, but not any other French mathematicians or theoretical physicists? I would understand if they were not represented at all, but it seems absurd to choose just one from a selection of many great names.

  • $\begingroup$ I count the Curies and Perrin there, too (Wikipedia), but I suppose that they do not make the number much greater. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Jul 19, 2015 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ Paul Langevin, Gaspard Monge are also buried in the Panthéon. $\endgroup$
    – MasB
    Jul 19, 2015 at 17:59
  • $\begingroup$ Lagrange died in 1813. One can argue that he was the greatest French mathematician who died by that time. $\endgroup$ Jul 19, 2015 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ It was NOT a "standard practice"; to understand some of the chosen scientist (see list below) to be buried we have to take into account the interplay between the "emerging" science and politics. Lagrange was "canonized" at his death by the Emperor Napoleon : obviously to glorify the French rule (political and cultural) all over the Europe. Lazare Carnot was a revolutionary and follower of Napoleon: he died in exile. But he was "canonized" in 1889 (more than 70 years after his death) during the The Third Republic (1871–1914) and when ... 1/2 $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2015 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ ... "his grandson Marie François Sadi Carnot was President of the French Republic (from 1887 until his assassination in 1894)". 2/2 $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2015 at 11:52

1 Answer 1


A definitive list might be useful. I went through the entire list, and here are my results.

Mathematicians and physicists buried in the Panthéon:

  1. Physicist Marie Curie.

  2. Physicist Pierre Curie.

  3. Physicist Jean Baptiste Perrin.

  4. Physicist Paul Langevin.

  5. Mathematician Paul Painlevé. (Also a politician)

  6. Mathematician Lazare Carnot. (Also a politician)

  7. Mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange.

  8. Mathematician Marquis de Condorcet. (Also a philosopher). His remains have been lost.

  9. Mathematician Gaspard Monge.

Other scientists:

  1. The chemist Marcellin Berthelot. (Also a politician)

  2. The physiologist Pierre Jean George Cabanis. (Also a philosopher)

  3. Physician and scientist (and other things) Jean-Paul Marat. (Later disinterred from the Panthéon)

At this point I have gone through the entire list, every biography at least three times. Several interred have no direct biography, but I chased and read their French biographies in every case. I now believe that this is complete. My inclusions in the "Other Scientists" category were a judgement call. I omitted a couple of physicians and cartographers (and that sort in general) in the spirit of the original post. I would be pleasantly surprised to hear I missed someone.

Visiting the Panthéon biographically was a historically enriching way to spend a Sunday morning for me. I will be sure to take pictures of all of these memorials the next time I find myself in Paris.

  • $\begingroup$ On the wikipedia page of Jules Henri Poincaré there is a mention that there was a proposal that he would also be buried there $\endgroup$
    – Willemien
    Jun 4, 2017 at 0:37

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