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(187) Lamberta

Reference work entry

Discovered 1878 Apr. 11 by J. Coggia at Marseilles.

Named in honor of Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728–1777), who described the Milky Way as “the ecliptic of the fixed stars” and made other remarkably good cosmological guesses. His law of exponential absorption of light and his theorem regarding inferences from the curvature of the apparent paths of comets are still in use. He first proved the irrationality of π (1768) and he introduced the present hyperbolic function symbols and elaborated the new subject. (H 23)

Lambert is also honored by craters on the Moon and on Mars. The cgs unit of brightness equal to the brightness of a perfectly diffusing surface that radiates or reflects one lumen per square centimeter bears his name.

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© Springer-Verlag 2003

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