Painlevé, Paul pōl păNləvā´ [key], 1863–1933, French statesman and mathematician. A mathematical prodigy when a child, he entered on a career devoted to science. He was a professor at the Sorbonne and the École Polytechnique when the Dreyfus Affair aroused his interest in politics. He entered on his political career as a leftist deputy (1910). In World War I he held several cabinet posts and was briefly premier in 1917. He was premier once more in 1925, succeeding Herriot, and was minister of war (1925–29) and minister of aviation (1930–31, 1932–33). In mathematics, Painlevé ranked among the best minds of his time; his contribution was particularly important in the field of differential equations. He published numerous writings on mathematics, astronomy, mechanics, philosophy, and politics.
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