# Clairaut, Alexis Claude (1713–1765)

Alexis Clairaut was a French mathematician, born in Paris. He showed early on a remarkable aptitude
for mathematics and was admitted to the Academy of Sciences at the age of
only 18. Clairault wrote numerous scientific papers, but his fame rests
principally upon his *Théorie de la Figure de la Terre* (1743),
in which he promulgated the notion that the variation of gravity on the surface of the Earth, regarded as an elliptic spheroid, was altogether
independent of the law of density; on his explanation of the motion of the
lunar apogee, a point left unexplained by Newton;
and on his computation of the time of the return of Halley's
Comet.