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Camus, Charles‐Étienne‐Louis

Born Crécy‐en‐Brie near Paris, France, 25 August 1699

Died Paris, France, 4 May 1768

As a member of the Académie royale des sciences, Charles‐Étienne‐Louis Camus took an active part in the scientific life of 18th‐century Paris and is particularly known for his participation in the astronomical and geodesic program to define the shape of the Earth. He also contributed to clockmaking and mechanics.

Camus was the son of a surgeon. From an early age, he showed a special gift for mathematics, while being clever with his hands, making and repairing iron or wood objects. He persuaded his parents to let him study in the Collège de Navarre in Paris. After leaving the college, Camus continued mathematical studies on his own, later with the aid of Pierre Varignon, a member of the academy. He also began studies in geometry, civil and military architecture, mechanics, and astronomy.

In 1727 Camus presented a dissertation to the academy on ships' masts; this work