The Expedition to Lapland

in The Man Who Flattened the Earth

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780226793603
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226793627 | DOI:
The Expedition to Lapland

Show Summary Details


This chapter is concerned with an Paris Academy-expedition to Lapland and examines the literary means used to represent the experience to urbane readers and spectators. The scientific results of the expedition met with rather more scepticism from the Paris astronomers than the travelers expected. Interpretations of cosmology were overshadowed by arguments about how to perform and evaluate observations and calculations, about who should be entrusted to do this work, and about how they should present it to the public. These expeditions generated intense public interest in what might seem an arcane scientific question. An overview of many different kinds of work on the theory and practice of geodesy shows how the interchange of results and ideas focused a substantial group of academicians on interlocking mathematical, theoretical, and empirical problems. The expedition also took the travelers temporarily outside the sphere of the Academy and freed them from certain constraints. They had to address the considerable problems of working in a strange environment on unknown terrain, of making their instruments work under these conditions, and of living in the extreme climate of the Arctic region.

Keywords: Lapland; expedition; Paris Academy; theory; cosmology

Chapter.  18222 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.