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François Arago

A 19th Century French Humanist and Pioneer in Astrophysics

Authors:

  • Provides the background and biography on François Arago, a dominant figure of French physics and astronomy in the first half of the 19th century, and the one whom many consider to be the first astrophysicist

  • Discusses Arago’s collaborations with many of the greatest physicists of all time, including Fresnel, Ampere, Fourier, Humboldt, Young, Faraday, Wheatstone and Oersted

  • Includes the worldwide developments of pure and applied physics, astronomy, meteorology and oceanography that were influenced by Arago

Part of the book series: Astrophysics and Space Science Library (ASSL, volume 421)

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  • ISBN: 978-3-319-20723-0
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Softcover Book USD 129.99
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Table of contents (12 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xv
  2. The Life of Arago

    • James Lequeux
    Pages 23-55
  3. The Nature of Light

    • James Lequeux
    Pages 57-87
  4. The Velocity of Light

    • James Lequeux
    Pages 89-118
  5. The Birth of Electromagnetism

    • James Lequeux
    Pages 119-147
  6. Measuring the Earth

    • James Lequeux
    Pages 149-171
  7. Arago and the Paris Observatory

    • James Lequeux
    Pages 173-202
  8. Arago Astronomer

    • James Lequeux
    Pages 203-234
  9. Arago Geophysicist and Meteorologist

    • James Lequeux
    Pages 235-258
  10. Applied Physics

    • James Lequeux
    Pages 259-271
  11. The Promotion of Science and Technique

    • James Lequeux
    Pages 273-304
  12. Arago’s Legacy

    • James Lequeux
    Pages 305-316
  13. Back Matter

    Pages 317-334

About this book

François Arago, the first to show in 1810 that the surface of the Sun and stars is made of incandescent gas and not solid or liquid, was a prominent physicist of the 19th century. He used his considerable influence to help Fresnel, Ampere and others develop their ideas and make themselves known. This book covers his personal contributions to physics, astronomy, geodesy and oceanography, which are far from negligible, but insufficiently known. Arago was also an important and influential political man who, for example, abolished slavery in the French colonies. One of the last humanists, he had a very broad culture and range of interests. In parallel to his biography, this title also covers the spectacular progresses of science at the time of Arago, especially in France: the birth of physical optics, electromagnetism and thermodynamics. Francois Arago’s life is a fascinating epic tale that reads as a novel.

Keywords

  • 19th Century Astronomy
  • 19th Century Geodesy
  • 19th Century Meteorology
  • 19th Century Oceanography
  • 19th Century Physics
  • François Arago Biography
  • Nature Light
  • Observatoire de Paris
  • Paris Observatory
  • Velocity Light

Reviews

“This book has great potential utility for the historian of astronomy and amply succeeds in its effort to reorient Arago’s legacy around his central role as astronomer while showing the breadth that the role could entail. … this book can be thought of as a corrective to a historical memory that has written astronomy out of Arago’s legacy.” (Theresa Levitt, Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol. 48 (2), 2017)

“François Arago is a fine, scholarly work, fully footnoted, with a detailed bibliography. The layout and exposition are clear, making it easy to locate specific researches. It is very well written and easy to read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and learned much from it, and warmly recommend it to everyone interested in early-19th-Century astronomy and physics.” (Allan Chapman, The Observatory, Vol. 136 (1252), June, 2016)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paris Observatory, Paris, France

    James Lequeux

About the author

James Lequeux completed his PhD thesis in radioastronomy in 1962 and was an assistant, then associate, professor of physics and astronomy at Paris University until 1966. He was an Astronomer from 1966-1999 and an invited scientist at CalTech from 1968-1969. Dr. Lequeux was also the Director of the Marseilles Observatory from 1983-1988 and was Editor-in-Chief of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics for 15 years. He retired in 1999 and then began work on the history of astronomy, a subject he presently writes about. Dr. Lequeux has published over 403 papers and five books, including The Interstellar Medium (Springer 2005) and Le Verrier: Magnificent and Detestable Astronomer (Springer 2013).

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 99.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-20723-0
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book USD 129.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)