The Culture of Science in France, 1700–1900: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Culture of Science in France, 1700–1900

1st Edition

By Robert Fox


352 pages

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Hardback: 9780860783398
pub: 1992-11-17
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This volume treats a remarkable period in the history of science in France. The articles in the first of its two sections, concerned with patronage and institutions, explore the structures that fostered research and the diffusion of scientific and technological knowledge, not only in the great institutions under state control but also in the very different world of the independent academies and the many scientific and industrial societies in Paris and the provinces. The second section focuses on the physical sciences, in particular the physics of heat and the imponderable fluids, and their relations with experimental and technological practice. It contains studies of figures of outstanding importance in the history of French science, including J.H. Lambert, P.S. de Laplace, and Sadi Carnot. Taken together, the articles provide an unusually coherent picture of a nation’s science over a period of a century, developing a methodological perspective that unites cognitive and social considerations. Cet ouvrage traite d’une période remarquable de l’histoire scientifique française. Les articles dans la première des deux sections, concernant le mécénat et les institutions, explorent les structures qui encourageaient la recherche et la diffusion des connaissances scientifiques et technologiques; ce, non seulement dans les grandes institutions sous contrôle étatique, mais aussi dans le monde très différent des académies indépendantes et des nombreuses sociétés scientifiques et industrielles à Paris et en province. La seconde section porte sur les sciences physiques, en particulier la physique thermique et les fluides impondérables, ainsi que leurs relations avec la pratique expérimentale et technologique. Elle contient des études de grands personnages d’une importance exceptionnelle dans l’histoire de la science française, comprenant: J.H. Lambert, P.S. de Laplace et Sadi Carnot. Dans leur ensemble, ces textes fournissent une image cohérente

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Scientific enterprise and the patronage of research in France, 1800-1870; The savant confronts his peers: scientific societies in France, 1815-1914; Learning, politics, and polite culture in provincial France: the sociétés savantes in the 19th century; The early history of the Société Zoologique de France; Science, industry, and the social order in Mulhouse, 1798-1871; From Corfu to Caledonia: the early travels of Charles Dupin, 1808-20; The science of fire: J. H. Lambert and the study of heat; The background to the discovery of Dulong and Petit’s law; The rise and fall of Laplacian physics; The fire piston and its origins in Europe; The challenge of a new technology: theorists and the high-pressure steam engine before 1824; Watt’s expansive principle in the work of Sadi Carnot and Nicolas Clément; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General