Georges Louis Leclerc Buffon, comte de
Buffon, Georges Louis Leclerc, comte de (zhôrzh lwē ləklĕrkˈ kôNt də büfôNˈ) [key], 1707–88, French naturalist and author. From 1739 he was keeper of the Jardin du Roi (later the Jardin des Plantes) in Paris and made it a center of research during the Enlightenment. He devoted his life to his monumental Histoire naturelle (44 vol., 1749–1804), a popular and brilliantly written compendium of data on natural history interspersed with Buffon's own speculations and theories. Of this work, the volumes Histoire naturelle des animaux and Époques de la nature are of special interest. His famous Discours sur le style was delivered (1753) on his reception into the French Academy. He also contributed to the mathematics of probability.
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