Download A Comet of the Enlightenment: Anders Johan Lexell's Life and by Johan C.-E. Stén PDF

By Johan C.-E. Stén

The Finnish mathematician and astronomer Anders Johan Lexell (1740–1784) used to be a long-time shut collaborator in addition to the tutorial successor of Leonhard Euler on the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg. Lexell was once in the beginning invited by way of Euler from his local city of Abo (Turku) in Finland to Saint Petersburg to aid within the mathematical processing of the astronomical information of the imminent transit of Venus of 1769. many years later he turned a regular member of the Academy. this is often the first-ever full-length biography dedicated to Lexell and his prolific medical output. His wealthy correspondence in particular from his grand travel to Germany, France and England finds him as a lucid observer of the highbrow panorama of enlightened Europe. within the skies, a comet, a minor planet and a crater at the Moon named after Lexell additionally perpetuate his memory.

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Extra info for A Comet of the Enlightenment: Anders Johan Lexell's Life and Discoveries

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1 Portrait of Jonas Lexell (1699–1768), father of Anders Johan Lexell, painted by Johan Georg Geitel (1683–1771) (Private collection of the Pipping family. The National Museum of Finland. Photo: Per-Olof Welin, published with permission) Lexell’s house was situated about 140 m south-west of the cathedral, at the crossing of Hämeenkatu (in Swedish: Tavastgatan), Uudenmaankatu (in Swedish: Nylandsgatan) and the cathedral park (see Fig. 2). All this wooden housing around the cathedral was destroyed in a devastating fire in September 1827.

The only fact that seems to explain why Schlözer—a German Professor of History at Göttingen—recommended a young mathematician from Åbo, whom he most 4 The German term Abhandlung in the minutes of the academic conferences is translated here as dissertation or treatise; in French, the corresponding word is mémoire (occasionally translated into English as memoir). 36 3 New Prospects in Saint Petersburg Fig. 2 Silhouette portrait of Schlözer’s family in Göttingen. To the right August Ludwig Schlözer with his spouse.

In the aftermath of the wars epidemics were rife, claiming hundreds of victims in the town. Anders Johan Lexell’s father, Jonas Lexell, was a goldsmith and jeweller, born in 1699 in Stockholm as the son of a Lutheran vicar Olaus Lexelius (who died in 1709) and trained by his stepfather Daniel Schultz, a goldsmith and jeweller born in Åbo [53, 86]. In 1725, at a time when Åbo was recovering from a disastrous occupation and in need of skilled labour, Schultz moved back to Finland with his family in the hope of finding work as a goldsmith in Åbo, but apparently without success.

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