The Polemical Aftermath of the Lapland Expedition

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 Polemical Aftermath of the Lapland Expedition

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Different expeditions produced irreconcilable numbers, which astronomers and mathematicians deployed for their own ends, both offensively and defensively. The polemics crossed back and forth over the boundaries between academy and salon, between expert readers of technical memoirs and the readers of literary scandal sheets. Maupertuis presented to the Academy a corrected length for the arc from Paris to Amiens, based on new observations. The geodetic expeditions had interested the government because of their potential payoff for navigation and cartography. The ministers imagined that these applied sciences would serve commercial and military ends, with improved transport and mapping systems within France and more accurate navigation techniques for long sea voyages.

Keywords: expedition; Academy; polemical; Maupertuis; sea voyage

Chapter.  19365 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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