d’Alembert

Nicolas de Condorcet and the Condorcet method

Nicolas de Condorcet and the Condorcet method

On March 28, 1794, French philosopher, mathematician, and early political scientist Nicolas de Condorcet died a mysterious death in prison after a period of flight from French Revolutionary authorities. He is probably best known for the Condorcet method, which in voting tally selects the candidate who would beat each of the other candidates in a run-off election. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he advocated a liberal economy, free and equal public instruction, constitutionalism,…
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Ferdinand Berthoud and the Chronometer

Ferdinand Berthoud and the Chronometer

On March 19 1727, French horologist Ferdinand Berthoud was born. Together with his great rival, Pierre Le Roy, Berthoud contributed to the development of the chronometer in the attempt to solve the problem of determining longitude at sea. Berthoud‘s improvements to the chronometer have been largely retained in present-day designs. Becoming a Master Watch Maker Ferdinand Berthoud was born in in Plancemont, Val-de-Travers, in the Canton of Neuchâtel, which then belonged to…
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The Universal Lexicon of Johann Heinrich Zedler

The Universal Lexicon of Johann Heinrich Zedler

On January 7, 1706, German bookseller and publisher Johann Heinrich Zedler was born. His most important achievement was the creation of a German encyclopedia, the Grosses Universal-Lexicon (Great Universal Lexicon), the largest and most comprehensive German-language encyclopedia developed in the 18th century. Johann Heinrich Zedler – Background and Early Years Johann Heinrich Zedler was born as the son of Johann Zedler, a shoemaker and citizen of Wroclaw, Silesia, today in Poland. Presumably…
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Jean-Rondolphe Perronet and the Bridges of Paris

Jean-Rondolphe Perronet and the Bridges of Paris

On October 27, 1708, French architect and structural engineer Jean-Rodolphe Perronet was born. He is best known for his many stone arch bridges, among them his most popular work, the Paris Pont de la Concorde. “Great bridges being monuments which serve to make known the grandeur and genius of a nation, we cannot pay too much attention to means for perfecting their architecture; this may be varied in treatment, but there must…
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Étienne de Condillac and the Importance of Language in Logical Reasoning

Étienne de Condillac and the Importance of Language in Logical Reasoning

On September 30, 1714, French philosopher and epistemologist Étienne Bonnot de Condillac was born. A leading advocate in France of the ideas of John Locke de Condillac further emphasized the importance of language in logical reasoning, stressing the need for a scientifically designed language and for mathematical calculation as its basis.[4] “The art of reasoning is nothing more than a language well arranged.” – Étienne de Condillac, as quoted in [5]  Étienne de Condillac…
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Adrien-Marie Legendre – Providing the Essential Analytical Tools for Mathematical Physics

Adrien-Marie Legendre – Providing the Essential Analytical Tools for Mathematical Physics

On September 18, 1752, French mathematician Adrien-Marie Legendre was born. He is best known for his contributions in number theory, celestial mechanics and elliptic functions. It was in a paper on celestial mechanics concerning the motion of planets (1784) that he first introduced the Legendre Polynomials. Moreover, he served as director of the of the Bureau des Longitudes, standardizing French weights and measures. “All the truths of mathematics are linked to each…
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The Encyclopædia Britannica and the Spirit of Enlightenment

The Encyclopædia Britannica and the Spirit of Enlightenment

On December 6, 1768, the first volume of the first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica was published in London as , ‘A Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, compiled upon a New Plan‘. The Britannica is the oldest English-language encyclopaedia still being produced today. The history of its 15 editions alone would be subject of an entire book. But although it might be the most popular encyclopaedia ever printed, it was not the…
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Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert  and the Great Encyclopedy

Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert and the Great Encyclopedy

On November 16, 1717, French mathematician, mechanician, physicist, philosopher, and music theorist Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert was born. He was one of the most important mathematicians and physicists of the 18th century and a philosopher of the Enlightenment.  Probably he is best known as co-editor with Denis Diderot of the famous Encyclopédie, edited between 1751 and 1772.[5] “Nothing is more incontestable than the existence of our sensations; …” — Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert,…
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Denis Diderot’s Encyclopedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts

Denis Diderot’s Encyclopedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts

On July 31, 1784, French philosopher, art critic, and writer Denis Diderot passed away. Diderot is best known for serving as co-founder, chief editor, and contributor to the Encyclopédie along with Jean le Rond d’Alembert.[1] He was a prominent figure during the Enlightenment. “From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.” — Denis Diderot, Essai sur le Mérite de la Vertu (1745) The Oldest Child of a Jansenist Master Cutler Denis Diderot…
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“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born on June 28, 1712. The writer, philosopher, composer, and pioneer of the Age of Enlightenment had a great influence in educational and political matters throughout the French Revolution and beyond. “It is ordinary people who have to be educated, and their education alone can serve as a pattern for the education of their fellows. The others find their way alone.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, or On Education, 1762 Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Early…
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