Born: September 22, 1803
in Geneva, Switzerland
Died: December 18, 1855
in Paris, France
When he started studying mathematics at the age of 16 he was already fluent in Greek, Latin and German as well as his native French. The son of an arithemtic teacher, he studied at the Geneva Academy under Simon Lhuilier and then Jean-Jacques Schaub after Lhuilier retired. It was during this time he struck up a friendship with Daniel Colladon.
After leaving the Geneva Academy he became the tutor of Mme de Staël's youngest son at the Châteaux de Coppet close to Geneva. The tutorship was not strenous and in his free time he wrote articles for Joseph Diaz Gergonne's serial Annales de mathématique pures et appliquées. The family moved to Paris for six months, and as tutor, Sturm went with them, meeting Pierre-Simon Laplace, Siméon Denis Poisson, Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier and André Marie Ampère.
He later returned to Paris without the family and published extensively on differential equations and the finding of roots. After some difficulty he found a position at the Ecole Polytechnique which he held until the end of his working life.