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- Ferrand, Gabriel 1864-1935
- Annotated bibliography of mirages, green flashes, atmospheric refraction, etc.
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- THE ERA ++FLAMMARION
Camille Flammarion, sa vie — ses travaux. Tallandier, Astronomie populaire , p.
Flammarion fait sa connaissance. Marpon et E. Flammarion, , p. In Situ Revue des patrimoines. Colette Aymard et Laurence-Anne Mayeur.
- A 19th Century French Humanist and Pioneer in Astrophysics.
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Un contexte de restauration difficile. Figure 1 Agrandir Original jpeg, k. Figure 2 Agrandir Original jpeg, k. Figure 3 Agrandir Original jpeg, k. Flammarion et de sa spir Figure 4 Agrandir Original jpeg, k. Figure 5 Agrandir Original jpeg, k. Figure 6 Agrandir Original jpeg, k. Figure 7 Agrandir Original jpeg, k. Figure 8 Agrandir Original jpeg, k. The writer may try to become intelligible upon concealing the essence of the problem and offering to the reader superficial aspects or allusions, cheating him thus upon making him to believe that he understands.
He can, instead, find himself giving to his reader an expert explanation of the problem, of such nature that the reader that it does not carry special preparation is unable to understand the exposition and loses the desire of continuing reading. To divulge, Einstein notes, is not to make accessible to "everybody" specialized scientific topics. Popularization tion, at least the effective popularization, has their target publics perfectly defined and hardly can it serve for other people.
The knowledge of which target public is concerned is very important. But popularization can be considered, too, from another point of view that focus on the person who produces it. Popularization reveals, when considering which points are included and which not in the study of a subject, which points are, in fact, important for the own spreader.
We can learn, considering his works from this perspective, which aspects of the scientific problem that he divulges does himself consider essential in his exposition. It in this sense that my main interest was directed to the study of how some well known astronomers and spreaders were presenting to special target publics their views on the universe in the final years of the XIXth century and first years of the XXth.
Which are my target people here? A first title of this paper was "The universe for women", followed by an explanatory subtitle, that coincides with the one which has finally remained. This title clearly focuses, at a first stage, on my specific target people, but perhaps could have seemed to be a bit sexist for a not aware reader. Nothing else far from the reality, indeed, but this requires a short explanation.
Maybe still less people know that their compatriot Camille Flammarion emulated them writing at the beginning of the XXth century a suggestive book with the same title: Astronomie des dames. Why has appeared in the history of science this curious subclass of the popularization literature? Both Lalande and Flammarion gives us an explanation.
We can read from Lalande:. I believe the women lacks only the opportunities to learn. Despite of the barriers of education and prejudice, we can find enough number of distinguished women to believe than they have, at least, the same intelligence than the men who succeed in science. Are they less than men? Do we need to speak another languaje to be understtod from them? Flammarion is hurried on to recognize that woman equal to the man in intellectual powers and that to write especially for her would be humiliating for them. Why then to continue writing such books?
Response is in either case the same. In spite of their interest, the women of the times in which Lalande and Flammarion wrote their books, in their immense majority had no too much opportunities of learning on the secrets of the sky The woman to which were destined such works, generically, were representing, thus, in the image of both astronomers, the materialization of a special target people.
They could be considered as persons with interest by learning, with capacity for this, but historically without any scientific training, with very few opportunities to be cultured and surely with a lot of misconceptions about the skies, their nature, origin of their bodies and influences on the humanity. This is, of course, the profile of the majority of the European population in the years of the change of the century and then the type of public in whose mentality the spreaders went to introduce their ideas about astronomy and, in our field of interest, about the universe.
This public, in the mind of our spreaders, is very well represented by Therefore, this is why I became interested in this target people: What ideas on the universe believed the astronomers we study, were necessary for the training of this type of public? What ideas were wanting these divulgers that persons with almost none scientific training but with their thoroughly awake curiosity, especially in the topic that here more interests us, should learn?
What ideas should these people transmit in their social and familiar environment on a topic so next and at the same time so distant? What to say about where are we and where are we going? Or, what is our place in the universe? Lalande is a man of the eighteenth century, even if he wrote his book already in the nineteenth century.
To my object I prefer to focus especially in Camille Flammarion, without any doubt the best and more read of the spreaders of astronomy in his time, in France and abroad. From the point of view I have outlined, the examples could be multiplied ad nauseam, but popular books on astronomy and popular writers in other countries, as far as I know, are more for an already cultured and trained people than for the persons that here interests to me.
The apologies of the authors that here I consider and their equality statements between men and women, are not oppose to the fact that in their works they could introduce the ideas and style of writing that they believed more appropriate for the people of very low cultural level.
In this sense seems timely to analyze that ideas and to compare them with those which were directed to more formed, more erudite publics. What ideas on the universe have the cultured people at the beginning of the XIXth century? But only those. Everyone else was carried out by the divinity in his way away".
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They were more concerned about the celestial bodies, that they could observe, and they properties. The astronomies of the XIXth century are largely technical works; the astronomic discoveries were not very spectacular for not specialists and, to complete the frame, the popular literature on specialized scientific subjects was still a very young specialty. In this context appears at the beginning of century the only one work of Lalande that can be considered indeed as a work of popularization.
The Astronomie des dames of Lalande is a small book in seventeen chapters, that try the topics most elemental and attractive for a curious not specialist. The treatment, however it is of technical quite character. There is no grants to the speculation and, indeed, though from the beginning was considered it a complement and update of the work of Fontenelle, is not found in it a flowered writing neither grants the speculation.
Chapter IX. Of the attraction, or of the gravity of the celestial bodies. Density of the planets. In what to our object concerns, the image of the universe that Lalande wants to transmit to their readers, only the chapter XV contains interesting material. Two are the problems outlined in it: one is that of the possibility of a the plurality of civilizations in the universe, of course; the other is the size of the universe. The topic of the plurality of the inhabited worlds is one of the classic topics of the astronomy and appears cited from the antiquity.
The work of Giordano Bruno The infinite universe and the worlds frames well the ideas circulating in his era. Lalande inevitably presents this well-known topic to their readers with much prudence. He cites Buffon and his calculations on the physical conditions needed to support life in the remaining planets of the solar system and alludes to philosophical conceptions on whether the same planets existence demonstrates its ability to support life.
But Lalande takes no posture for any of these possibilities. In the other topic, that of the nature and size of the universe, the astronomer proceeds still warily: Without entering the technical or philosophical discussions in this regard, it lets to their readers in a wise ignorance. No reference to the Creator, no God mention, unless in the chapter on the explanation of the fables, and presented, with a careful and prudent stile of writing, as one more among the pagan fables of the antiquity.
Lalande does not relinquish thus to the easy speculation. It is an astronomer and in spite to devote his work to a public of very low cultural level and little accustom to the scientific aridity, it does not make no grant to the imagination neither to the beliefs of their public. His work is a work of pure Astronomy, far from what would constitute the daily spiritual world of women of his time. His literary stile is not specially flowered. The Astronomie des dames is only a low level science lesson, not a tale nor a speculation.
Ferrand, Gabriel 1864-1935
We can say, even, that it is still not "popular science". Along the XIXth century, the separation between astronomy, so much in its technical presentations as not technical and the more or less novelesque popularization, is enlarged. Around the end of century, the "popular astronomy" is a gender largely cultivated by astronomers, and is widely understood as a description of the new discoveries.
In this book, that starts with the ideas of Herschel on the nebulae and the constitution of the stellar system, there are not considerations of speculative or philosophical type. It is the same case, among the other multiple examples that we could collect. As another examples we can remember the Popular astronomy of Simon Newcomb, or the also very well known book Astronomy for everybody.
A popular exposition of the wonder of the heavens of Robert Stawell Ball. But the target people of all these authors is an already cultured public.
Annotated bibliography of mirages, green flashes, atmospheric refraction, etc.
Our target public continues being the most popular one and we can continue to consider women of this time as his genuine representation. In , as we have advanced, a singular man, Camille Flammarion writes a book with the same title than that of Lalande: Astronomie des dames. Who is this Camille Flammarion?
It is necesary to know something on the writer to understand his work. Camille Flammarion was born in Montigny-le-Roi, in the French region of Haute Marne, a 26 of February of , first son of a peasants family. Flammarion begins his education in Langres, in a clerical school. In he is going to Paris with his family. The young self-made man composes at this time a bulk manuscript, a compilation of his readings, which headlines Cosmogonie universelle. Etude du monde primitif. We can find among them the. Flammarion starts to dream about the astronomy, which combines with raids in the world of the spiritism.
The spiritism will be his second great passion, that he hides carefully at the beginning of his scientific career, so as not to prejudice it, but that he will return to practice publicly at the end of his life. Through a medical friend who knows his hobbies, the young man is recommended to Urbain Le Verrier, director of the Observatory of Paris.
After a mathematics examination, it is admitted, at the age of 16 years, as astronomer student of the observatory, where enters a 28 of June of , full of a romantic ideal by discovering new worlds Flammarion starts a discrete struggle by coming into contact with the telescopes. Finally, one of the astronomers of the observatory, Jean Chacornac, takes it under this protection.
With him, Flammarion can finally approach his eye to the lenses of the great telescope of the East tower. Here starts a passionate adventure, in which the young pupil is converted into divulger of the wonders of the sky. In , Mallet-Bachelier, printer of the observatory of Paris, publishes his first work of related with astronomy.
THE ERA ++FLAMMARION
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