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.
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