François Édouard Anatole Lucas (April 4, 1842 in Amiens - October 3, 1891) was a French mathematician who was educated at the École Normale Supérieure. He worked in the Paris observatory and later became a professor of mathematics in Paris. In the meantime he served in the army.
Lucas died in unusual circumstances. At the banquet of the annual congress of the Association française pour l'avancement des sciences a waiter dropped some crockery and a piece of broken plate cut Lucas on the cheek. He died a few days later of a sever skin inflammation probably caused by septicemia.
He devised methods for testing the primality of numbers. He proved in 1876 that 2127-1 was prime; this would remain the largest known Mersenne prime for three-quarters of a century. Later Derrick Henry Lehmer refined his work and obtained the Lucas-Lehmer test for Mersenne numbers.
He worked on the development of the umbral calculus.
Lucas was also interested in recreational mathematics; the baguenaudier puzzle was invented by him. He also invented the tower of Hanoi puzzle, which he marketed under the nickname N. Claus de Siam, an anagram of Lucas d'Amiens.
- O'Connor, John J., and Edmund F. Robertson. "Edouard Lucas". MacTutor History of Mathematics archive.