The Berlin Academy of Sciences

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 Berlin Academy of Sciences

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This chapter explores the ideological and political bases of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, and the ways in which Maupertuis adapted to the cultural setting in Berlin, which was quite different from that of Paris. Alongside his role of philosopher-courtier, Maupertuis pursued his program for a metaphysical mechanics, with the able assistance of Leonhard Euler, the most accomplished mathematician at the revived Berlin Academy. Frederick's political ideology grafted the principles of an enlightened rationalism onto absolute monarchy and permeated all aspects of Prussian life. The interaction between state and academy operated on ideological, practical, and even philosophical levels. The Academy's troubled relations with its printers epitomized the problem of reconciling ideals with the realities of life and politics in Berlin. Maupertuis played many roles in his years in Berlin: wise ruler, philosopher, mathematician, man of letters, even orator.

Keywords: Berlin; sciences; academy; Maupertuis; political ideology

Chapter.  18634 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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