# Hermite, Charles (1822–1901)

Charles Hermite was a French mathematician whose work in the theory of functions includes the
application of elliptic functions to provide the first solution to the general equation of the fifth degree,
the quintic equation. He also showed that *e* is a transcendental
number, studied a class of differential
equations now known as **Hermite polynomials**, which later
proved to be of importance in some applications of quantum
mechanics, and discovered the properties of **Hermitian matrices**.