Loys de Chéseaux, Jean-Philippe
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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