Pierre Etienne Bezier was born on September 1, 1910 in Paris. Son and grandson of engineers, he chose this profession too and enrolled to study mechanical engineering at the Ecole des Arts et Metiers and received his degree in 1930. In the same year he entered the Ecole Superieure d'Electricite and earnt a second degree in electrical engineering in 1931. In 1977, 46 years later, he received his DSc degree in mathematics from the University of Paris.

In 1933, aged 23, Bezier entered Renault and worked for this company for 42 years. He started as Tool Setter, became Tool Designer in 1934 and Head of the Tool Design Office in 1945. In 1948, as Director of Production Engineering he was responsable for the design of the transfer lines producing most of the 4 CV mechanical parts. In 1957, he became Director of Machine Tool Division and was responsable for the automatic assembly of mechanical components, and for the design and production of an NC drilling and milling machine, most probably one of the first machines in Europe. Bezier become managing staff member for technical development in 1960 and held this position until 1975 when he retired.

Bezier started his research in CADCAM in 1960 when he devoted a substantial amount of his time working on his UNISURF system. From 1960, his research interest focused on drawing machines, computer control, interactive free-form curve and surface design and 3D milling for manufactoring clay models and masters. His system was launched in 1968 and has been in full use since 1975 supporting about 1500 staff members today.

Bezier's academic career began in 1968 when he became Professor of Production Engineering at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers. He held this position until 1979. He wrote four books, numerous papers and received several distinctions including the "Steven Anson Coons" of the Association for Computing Machinery and the "Doctor Honoris Causa" of the Technical University Berlin. He is an honorary member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and of the Societe Belge des Mecaniciens, ex-president of the Societe des Ingenieurs et Scientifiques de France, Societe des Ingenieurs Arts et Metiers, and he was one of the first Advisory Editors of "Computer-Aided Design".

Definition: A Bézier curve is a curved line or path defined by mathematical equations. It was named after Pierre Bézier, a French mathematician and engineer who developed this method of computer drawing in the late 1960s while working for the car manufacturer Renault. Most graphics software includes a pen tool for drawing paths with Bézier curves.

The most basic Bézier curve is made up of two end points and control handles attached to each node. The control handles define the shape of the curve on either side of the common node. Drawing Bézier curves may seem baffling at first; it's something that requires some study and practice to grasp the geometry involved. But once mastered, Bezier curves are a wonderful way to draw!

Pierre Bézier was born September 1, 1910 and died November 25, 1999 at the age of 89. In 1985 he was recognized by ACM SIGGRAPH with a 'Steven A. Coons' award for his lifetime contribution to computer graphics and interactive techniques.

A Bezier curve with three nodes. The center node is selected and the control handles are visible.

A Bezier curve with three nodes. The second node (from left) is selected and the control handles are visible.

Pronunciation: bez-ee-ay

Alternate Spellings: bezier curve, Pierre Bezier

Common Misspellings: bezer, bezire, bexier


Dr. Pierre Bezier

Engineer, Inventor, Author, and Mathematician

Inventor of the Bezier Curves