The following words concerning Carl Friedrich Gauss are attributed to Laplace in an article from the Mathematics magazine by Teets and Whitehead (The discovery of Ceres: how Gauss became famous, first page.)

The Duke of Brunswick has discovered more in his country than a planet: a super-terrestrial spirit in a human body.

I am looking for the original quote of Laplace, presumably in French, together with a reference.

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    $\begingroup$ I have doubts that the quote is authentic. Teets and Whitehead possibly took it from the Dunnington-Gray-Dohse's 1955 book (p. 44), which only says that Laplace "is said to have exclaimed" this, and without attribution. So even by the anecdote itself there would be no original reference. More disturbingly, I was unable to find anything close to the French translation of this sentence even second hand. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Jan 26, 2018 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ Another extraterrestrial visited us in 20th century (John von Neumann). I don't remember who said this, but is this really important? $\endgroup$ Jan 26, 2018 at 22:16


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