Date: 03 Sep 2014

de Borda, Jean-Charles

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Alternate Name

Borda, Jean-Charles de

BornDax, (Landes), France, 4 May 1733

DiedParis, France, 19 February 1799

Jean-Charles de Borda was a positional astronomer, instrument designer, and one of the founders of the metric system. Borda was born in a noble family, son of Jean-Antoine de Borda and Jeanne-Marie Thérèse de Lacroix. He began his education at the Jesuit school La Flèche, and later entered the light cavalry and then the Academy of Engineers of Mézières. His scientific curiosity made him eligible for the Paris Academy of Sciences in 1756. Borda’s first publications in the annals of the academy deal with a subject not directly related to astronomy: the resistance of fluids. In 1769, due to Aymar Joseph de Roquefeuil’s insistence, the Marine Academy was created, and Borda was elected a member and professor of mathematics. There, he developed a great deal of his astronomical knowledge.

In 1771, Borda embarked on the frigate La Flore, destined for America. He was accompanied by the ast ...