Thévénin, Léon Charles

SUBJECT AREA: Electricity
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b. 30 March 1857 Paris, France
d. 21 September 1926 Paris, France
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French telegraph engineer who extended Ohm's Law to the analysis of complex electrical circuits.
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Following a basic education, Thévénin entered the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, graduating in 1876. In 1878 he joined the Corps of Telegraph Engineers (which subsequently became the French PTT). There he initially worked on the development of long-distance underground telegraph lines, but he later switched to working on power lines. Appointed a teaching inspector at the Ecole Supérieure in 1882, he became increasingly interested in the problems of measurement in electrical circuits. As a result of studying Kirchoff's Laws, which were essentially derived from Ohm's Law, he developed his now-famous theorem which made it possible to calculate the currents in more complex electrical circuits.
As well as becoming Head of the Bureau des Lignes, up until his death he also found time for teaching other subjects outside the Ecole, including a course in mechanics at the Institut National Agronomique. In 1896 he was appointed Director of the Telegraph Engineering School, then, in 1901, Engineer-in-Chief of the telegraph workshops. He retired in 1914.
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Bibliography
1883, "Extension of Ohm's Law to complex electrical circuits", Comptes rendus 97:159 (describes Thévénin's Theorem).
Further Reading
F.E.Terman, 1943, Radio Engineers'Handbook, New York: McGraw-Hill, Section 3 (summarizes the relevant circuit theory).
KF

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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