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Clairaut de Lune

15 Feb 2009, 04:05 UTC
Clairaut de Lune
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We take the recognition and acceptance of Isaac Newton's universal law of gravitation for granted, but historically, his ideas were not immediately accepted by everyone in the scientific community, particularly outside of England. According to Siegfried Bodenmann -- a science...We take the recognition and acceptance of Isaac Newton's universal law of gravitation for granted, but historically, his ideas were not immediately accepted by everyone in the scientific community, particularly outside of England. According to Siegfried Bodenmann -- a science historian with the Euler Archive who spoke at the AAAS meeting in Chicago -- three prominent 17th century mathematicians in particular were instrumental in Newton's ideas gaining ground in Western Europe: Leonard Euler, Jean le Rond d'Alembert, and Alexis Claude Clairaut.Per Bodenmann, d'Alembert helped disseminate Newton's theories with his work on the French encyclopedia, while Euler presented them in popular form in his book, Letters to a German Princess, published in 1768. And Clairaut, while initially convinced that Newton's inverse square law was incorrect, eventually reconciled himself to its veracity and went on to use his calculations to predict the return of Halley's comet in 1682.
Clairaut's name might not be familiar to science buffs today, but he was ...

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