Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Loys de Chéseaux, Jean-Philippe

  • Isaac Benguigui
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-9917-7_871

BornLausanne, Switzerland, 4 May 1718

DiedParis, France, 30 November 1751

A simple question that arises from nature is, “Why is the sky dark at night?” The darkness of the nocturnal sky has intrigued observers for centuries, but it was necessary to wait until the eighteenth century to recognize that the reason for the sky’s darkness was not at all obvious. It was a young Swiss astronomer, Jean-Philippe Loys de Chéseaux, who provided one of the first formulations of the problem in 1744, although  Johannes Kepler had arrived at a similar conclusion circa 1610.

Loys de Chéseaux was the son of Paul Loys, the Seigneur of Chéseaux, and grandson of the mathematician and philosopher Jean-Pierre de Crousaz, a professor of mathematics and philosophy at the Academy of Lausanne and a corresponding member of the Académie des sciences in Paris. Crousaz was also the first person in Lausanne to teach in the French language.

Loys de Chéseaux possessed a gift for languages – Latin, Greek, and Hebrew...

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Selected References

  1. Loys de Chéseaux, Jean-Philippe (1744). Traite de la Comète qui a paru en Decembre 1743 & en Janvier, Février & Mars 1744. Lausanne: Marc-Michel Bousquet.Google Scholar
  2. Montet, Albert de (1878). Dictionnaire biographique des Genèvois et des Vaudois. Vol. 2, pp. 76–77. Lausanne: G. Bridel.Google Scholar
  3. Paschoud, Maurice (1914). “L’astronome vaudois Jean-Philippe Loys de Chéseaux (1718–1751).” Bulletin de la Société vaudoise des sciences naturelles 49: 141–164.Google Scholar
  4. Secretan-Mercier (1843). “Notice sur les dissertations astronomiques de M. Loys de Chéseaux, relatives à quelques points des prophéties de Daniel.” Revue Suisse 6: 261–279.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université de GenèveGenèveSwitzerland