Science History

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
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.
As I wrote in Like Freedom? Thank A Scientist - How Science Made America Possible, during the meetings of the the Continental Congress during independence discussions, Thomas Jefferson noted the temperature on four separate occasions.  Jefferson, like many others present, was a citizen scientist long before there was government funding for it.   The same climate of liberalism (liberals, not busybody progressives, as I have stated too many times to count) that makes science flourish made democracy possible.
Ignaz Venetz - Climate Change Pioneer - #2

Ignaz Venetz was, in 1821, awarded a prize of 300 francs for his memoire by the Schweizerische Naturforschende Gesellschaft - the Swiss Natural Science Society.  It is my firm opinion that, accordingly, the date of publication should be cited as 1821: the date of the award of the prize, and not 1833 which was the date of its re-publication in a bound archive of science papers.
Ignaz Venetz - Climate Change Pioneer

Climate has always changed - but we have not always known it.

Events following 1816 - the year without a summer - led to a major controversy in which the scientific consensus on the one hand was countered by dogma on the other.  On reading the history of that great controversy, one gets a strong sense of Déjà vu.

Thought experiments are mental exercises, or imaginative experiments, which are often not possible to perform with current technology. They appear to be particularly popular in physics and philosophy, but are by no means limited to these two fields. There are a couple of thought experiments that employ demons. After all, an imaginary entity with awesome powers can be quite useful in a thought experiment, can’t it?


Three of the most famous thought experiments that center around a demon with amazing capabilities, are:

Descartes’ Evil Demon