Pendulum : Léon Foucault and the triumph of science / Amir D. Aczel.
- Other Title:
- Léon Foucault and the triumph of science
- 1st Atria Books hardcover ed.
- New York : Atria Books, 2003.
x, 275 p. : ill., map ; 23 cm.
- Foucault, Léon, 1819-1868.
Physicists -- France -- Biography.
Scientists -- France -- Biography.
Religion and science -- France -- History.
Religion and science -- France -- History -- 19th century.
- In 1851, struggling, self-taught physicist Lǒn Foucault performed a dramatic demonstration inside the Panthǒn in Paris. By tracking a pendulum's path as it swung repeatedly across the interior of the large ceremonial hall, Foucault offered the first definitive proof -- before an audience that comprised the cream of Parisian society, including the future emperor, Napoleon III -- that the earth revolves on its axis. In this book, Amir Aczel has revealed the life of a gifted physicist who had almost no formal education in science, and yet managed to succeed despite the adversity he suffered at the hands of his peers. Foucault gave us the modern electric compass, devised an electric microscope, invented photographic technology, and made remarkable deductions about color theory, heat waves, and the speed of light. Yet until now so little has been known about his life. Pendulum tells of the illustrious period in France during the Second Empire; of Foucault's relationship with Napoleon III, a colorful character in his own right; and -- most notably -- of the crucial triumph of science over religion.
- A stunning discovery in the cellar
Ancient logic: Bible and inquisition
Failed experiments with falling bodies
A science "irregular" in the age of the engineer
The meridian of Paris
"Come see the earth turn"
A new Bonaparte
The force of Coriolis
The Coup d'État and the second empire
An unemployed genius
The observatory physicist
A premature end
The defeat at Sedan
- Includes bibliographical references (p. 251-264) and index.
- Local notes:
- Athenaeum copy: Scott fund bookplate.
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