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Conceptions de l'atmosphère et nature de l'air au XVIIIe siècle : l'héritage cartésien

Abstract : In this article, we first present the conceptions of the atmosphere in the 18th century, in relation to the different meanings of the notion of air, coarse, pure or subtle air, inherited mainly from Descartes, and their implications on the estimation made at the time of the height of the atmosphere, mainly from the observation of the aurora borealis and the barometer measurements carried out on mountains. We then relate the sequence of observations and hypotheses which, from 1726 to 1735, led eminent scientists of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Paris to raise the height of the atmosphere from 70 to 2,000 km, bringing it closer to the value reconciling the duration of the terrestrial day with the Cartesian vortex theory. We suggest that this work is part of the Cartesian offensive against the penetration of Newtonianism from 1727 onwards, according to various authors, notably Pierre Brunet and John Bennett Shank.
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Contributor : Eric Chassefière Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, November 11, 2021 - 9:43:56 AM
Last modification on : Friday, April 1, 2022 - 3:50:50 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, February 12, 2022 - 6:10:57 PM


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  • HAL Id : hal-03425689, version 1


Eric Chassefière. Conceptions de l'atmosphère et nature de l'air au XVIIIe siècle : l'héritage cartésien. Revue d'Histoire des Sciences, Armand Colin 2021, 74 (2). ⟨hal-03425689⟩



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