Science History

Émilie Du Châtelet - An Essay On Heat - 1739 - #2

This is a plain text transcription of Dissertation sur la nature et la propagation du feu.

For introductory comments, please see Émilie du Châtelet - An Essay On Heat - 1739 - #1.


Transcription of part 1 follows below this page break.
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DISSERTATION
SUR LA NATURE
ET
LA PROPAGATION
DU FEU
______________________
Ignea convexis vis, & sine pondere coeli
Emecuit, summâque locum sibi legit in arce.
Ovid.
______________________
Émilie du Châtelet - An Essay On Heat - 1739 - #1


In 1739 the Paris Academy of Sciences proposed a question: what is fire?  A prize was offered for the best response. Entries were to be presented anonymously. The prize was awarded to Euler.  Voltaire, who had also entered the competition, did not know until the list of entrants was published with the prize award notification that his entry had been in competition against one from his lover.  Although Émilie du Châtelet did not win the prize, her entry was considered so remarkable that, at the request of Réaumur, the Academy decided to have it printed at its own expense.

Science, history and a little detective work?  Yes, please!  

Tony Lupo, professor and department chair of atmospheric sciences at the University of Missouri, and Mike Madden, a meteorology student,  pulled together bits and pieces of global meteorological flotsam to compile a Missouri weather forecast from 150 years.

They created their weather forecast for the Battle of Carthage, which took place early in the Civil War on July 5, 1861.  Why that one?  Well, they live in Missouri.
Other Suns, Other Colors

    It seems to be a law of universal application that if a task is boring and low paid, it should be given to a woman.  Many of the women given such tasks in the past performed them with such skill and dedication that their work has become part of the strong foundations of modern science.  It seems to me to be a matter of great shame that many people today do not know the names of these women.
A Frael of Figs
 - or -
A Handful of History



If history consisted only in lists of the dates when "important people" did earth-shattering things such as kicking the bucket from a surfeit of lampreys, then I would agree with Henry Ford that history is bunk.

However, history at large can run from the present day all the way back to the big bang - assuming there ever was a big bang.
The Posthumous Memoir of Ignaz Venetz #3

... the voice of a faithful disciple of science is entitled to be heard.
My continuing researches on the discovery of climate change show that prior to Ignaz Venetz's 1821 prize-winning paper, the most commonly held views on the earth's climate were either that it had changed once, briefly, as a result of the noachain flood, or that the earth has been continually cooling since it was formed.  It was also held by most geologists that all rocks which were not obviously of volcanic origin were formed in or by water.
The Posthumous Memoir of Ignaz Venetz


This memoir was published by the Swiss Natural Sciences Society, shortly after the death of Ignaz Venetz, to honor his great contribution to science.

For background information, please see part 1 of this article -
The Posthumous Memoir Of Ignaz Venetz
 and 
Ignaz Venetz - Climate Change Pioneer.

As with the 1821 paper, my plain ASCII transcription retains the original pagination, using rows of dots as page breaks.

The transcription of the memoir begins below this page break >>
The Posthumous Memoir of Ignaz Venetz

My  three part article on Venetz's prize-winning 1821 paper began with some facts tending to prove that he was the first person to discuss climate change scientifically.  Since beginning my researches concerning Venetz, I have discovered many more facts.


The discovery of climate change.
Ignaz Venetz - Climate Change Pioneer - #3


There is no such thing as a perfect translation.

En effet, on peut être utile sans atteindre à la perfection;

Agenda, ou tableau général des Observations et des Recherches dont les résultats doivent servir de base à la théorie de la Terre, H. B. de Saussure, 1796.

This article contains my translation of Ignatz Venetz's 1821 prize-winning Essay on the variations of temperature in the Swiss Alps - Memoire sur les variations de la température dans les Alpes de la Suisse
The synthesis of non-equilibrium thermodynamics and biology, pursued in fits and starts over the years by an eccentric cast of thinkers, has produced a few scientific red herrings, but the overall idea has expanded our biophysical horizons.  I'll summarize what I've come to understand about the development of biological thermodynamics and its implications, while trying to skirt the rabbit holes.