Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil
Marquise du Châtelet
Her inscription to M. Malouin.
Photos courtesy of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, PA.
Without telling Voltaire, her famous lover, Châtelet entered the Académie des Sciences Grand Prix competition of 1737. Voltaire also entered - but Euler won! Fortunately, the Académie published her entry, Dissertation sur la nature et la propagation du feu which appears above.
Her essay on the nature of fire focused on the relationships among Cartesian, Newtonian and Leibnizian philosophies, free will, God's power, and the nature of space, matter and force.