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French mathematician, mechanician, physicist, philosopher, and music theorist. Until 1759 he was co-editor with Denis Diderot of the Encyclopédie. Born in Paris, d’Alembert was the natural son of the writer Claudine Guérin de Tencin and the chevalier Louis-Camus Destouches, an artillery officer. According to custom, he was named after the patron saint of the church. D’Alembert was placed in an orphanage for foundling children, but his father found him and placed him with the wife of a glazier, Madame Rousseau, with whom he lived for nearly 50 years.
You will never be anything but a philosopher – and what is that but an ass who plagues himself all his life, that he may be talked about after he is dead. Destouches secretly paid for the education of Jean le Rond, but did not want his paternity officially recognised. D’Alembert first attended a private school. The chevalier Destouches left d’Alembert an annuity of 1200 livres on his death in 1726.