Download A Comet of the Enlightenment: Anders Johan Lexell's Life and by Johan C.-E. Stén PDF

By Johan C.-E. Stén

The Finnish mathematician and astronomer Anders Johan Lexell (1740–1784) used to be a long-time shut collaborator in addition to the educational successor of Leonhard Euler on the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg. Lexell used to be at the start invited by means of Euler from his local city of Abo (Turku) in Finland to Saint Petersburg to aid within the mathematical processing of the astronomical info of the approaching transit of Venus of 1769. many years later he grew to become a standard member of the Academy. this can be the first-ever full-length biography dedicated to Lexell and his prolific medical output. His wealthy correspondence specifically from his grand journey to Germany, France and England finds him as a lucid observer of the highbrow panorama of enlightened Europe. within the skies, a comet, a minor planet and a crater at the Moon named after Lexell additionally perpetuate his memory.

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Additional resources for A Comet of the Enlightenment: Anders Johan Lexell's Life and Discoveries

Example text

Euler and Lagrange evidently belonged to this exclusive class. — Finally, the writing astronomers, astronomes littérateurs, were those who understood enough of astronomy for the purpose of popularisation, but not to make the science progress in itself. In this special class, the 14th, Johann Bernoulli included philosophical authors such as Rudjer Boscovic and Voltaire. Obviously, Bernoulli’s classification is only indicative, as the qualifications of the different classes are not unambiguous. A different classification has indeed been applied in [149], where the number of living astronomers in 1775 was estimated at approximately 160, but the astronomers of importance (les grands savants) at no more than 60.

Both letters were written in elegant French, albeit with somewhat unusual orthography and peculiar verb conjugation. ) Monsieur, Je ne sçaurois vous exprimer les sentiments de joje et de la reconnoissance, des quelles je suis pénétrée en récevant votre dernière lettre, car je n’aurois jamais osé, me former un espoir si flat[t]eux que ma dissertation obtiendroit cette grande et parfaite approbation, dont vous m’assurez, vous ne devez pas donc trouver étrange, que votre lettre m’a rendu également jojeux, surpris et confus.

Among his classmates we find Henrik Gabriel Porthan (1739–1804), a renowned Finnish philologist and historian, who was to become chief librarian and Professor of Eloquence at the Academy of Åbo. e. “News, published by a Society in Åbo” [80]. As a close friend of Porthan, Lexell wrote some shorter reports for this newspaper with news from the learned world of Saint Petersburg in 1771–1773. Porthan and Lexell shared a mutual appreciation and friendship, but unfortunately their correspondence has been lost.

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