Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon

Georges- Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon ( born September 7, 1707 Montbard, † April 16, 1788 in Paris) was a French naturalist in the Age of Enlightenment. Its official botanical author abbreviation is " Buffon ".

  • 2.1 The biological research 2.1.1 Buffon's Natural History
  • 4.1 General Natural History
  • 4.2 Article
  • 4.3 translations

Life and work

Background and education

Georges- Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon later, the first of five children of Benjamin -François Leclerc (1683-1775) and his first wife Anne -Christine Marlin was ( 1681-1731 ). His father was an attorney for the Parliament of Burgundy and is responsible for driving the salt tax. For the wedding his mother received from her childless uncle Georges- Louis Blaisot († 1714), who had acquired as a tax collector for the Duke of Savoy Victor Amadeus II, his fortune, a rich dowry. After the death of Blaisots widow in 1717 the young Buffon inherited property from his Taufpatens. His father bought with this money the Seigneurie of Buffon, a small village not far from Montbard, and the sovereign rights over the estate of Montbard. 1720 Buffon's father -bought also the office of a counselor of the parliament of Burgundy.

Already in 1717 the family had moved their residence to Dijon. Here Buffon got on the run by the Jesuit Collège des Godrans 1717-1723 his first education and became friends with the late Abbé Le Blanc ( 1707-1781 ). His performances were not particularly outstanding. However, he developed a strong interest in mathematics. Buffon read Euclid's writings and studied Marquis de l' Hospital in 1696 published textbook on differential calculus. After completing the school, Buffon wrote in 1723 at the Law Faculty of the recently founded University of Dijon a. Here he met his former classmate Charles de Brosses again and learned Gilles Germain Richard de Ruffey (1706-1794) know. With both Buffon established a lifelong friendship. The Friends were given access to the District President of Parliament Jean Bouhier de Savigny (1673-1746), who invited once a week in his extensive library. The humanist Bouhier fascinated by the philosophical ideas of John Locke and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. It was probably Bouhier, the Buffon encouraged in his interest in natural science and philosophy.

Buffon decided to completely turn to science. His mathematical skills were already on the state of research of his time. He later stated to have discovered at this time of Isaac Newton generalized the binomial theorem. 1727 Buffon began correspondence with the Geneva mathematics professor Gabriel Cramer. The contact to Cramer possibly gave him Charles- de Catherine Loppin Gemeaux ( 1714-1805 ). 1728 Buffon moved to Angers to continue his studies. The reasons for its choice are unclear. Perhaps the teaching of mathematics professor Père de Landreville at the College de l' Oratory was decisive. In Angers, he studied mathematics, botanized and attended various medical courses. Here he read Newton's writings and Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle's Elements de la geometry de l' infini from the year 1727th For unknown reasons, Buffon was involved in a duel, as a result he was forced to leave Angers in October 1730 and return to Dijon.

On November 3, 1730 Buffon broke with Evelyn Pierrepont ( 1711-1773 ), the second Duke of Kingston -upon -Hull, and his teacher Nathan Hickman (around 1695-1746 ) on an extended trip through southern France and Italy. She led initially Nantes, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Montpellier to Lyon, which they reached in May 1731. Buffon had to break the journey, his mother fell ill; She died on 1 August 1731. Buffon was in October 1731 in Geneva and was able to speak Cramer, who introduced him to the St. Petersburg paradox there. In Geneva, he met his companions again. The more common journey led through Turin, Milan, Genoa, Pisa, Florence and ended in Rome. After the Carnival Tuesday, 1732 Buffon returned to his hometown.

After the death of Buffon's mother, his father married on December 30, 1732, the much younger Nadault Antoinette ( 1709-1770 ). Buffon forced his father to surrender his inherited from his uncle Blaisot assets. Whether it came to a legal dispute is not known. However, the relationship with his father remained tense for a long time.

Admission to the Académie des sciences

In July 1732 Buffon settled in Paris' Faubourg Saint- Germain, now part of the 7th arrondissement, at Gilles -François Boulduc ( 1675-1741 ) pharmacist of King Louis XV .. Here he wanted to advance his admission to the Académie des sciences. Buffon wrote a treatise entitled Mémoire sur le jeu du franc- carreau ( memorandum on the game Franc- Carreau ), in which he used the differential calculus on the probability theory and the study of geometric probabilities initiated. In this treatise, he presented to the Academy for consideration, he also was later named after him " needle problem " one. Émilie du Châtelet and Pierre- Louis Moreau de Maupertuis submitted on April 25, 1733 in front of a very benevolent opinion. Châtelet leaving Buffon's writing at the next meeting of the Académie des sciences.

Buffon had already returned to Montbard, where he wanted to build his principal residence. He turned his modest birthplace tear off, bought some neighboring building and had built a vast mansion. On the surrounding hilltop he tore down some of the medieval fortifications. In their place, a vast, terraced park with a menagerie, a laboratory and a workplace arose. Jean -Frédéric Phelypeaux, comte de Maurepas, Secretary of the Royal Household and the Navy, had already in 1731 to the Academy with a request turned to develop methods by which the strength and durability of the wood used for shipbuilding 'll improve. However, the academy were not carrying out the necessary investigations the necessary funds available. Buffon, who owned the woods at Montbard, began in May 1733 corresponding experiments.

In the fall of 1733 Buffon was again in Paris. The Academy invited him on 25 November to read a work on geometry, which eventually treated a problem of mechanics. On December 12, 1733 it was announced that in the Académie des sciences, the site of a Associé astronome newly occupied was. The Academy beat Giovanni Domenico Maraldi, the adjoint was already mécanicien, and Buffon for the free position before. The king decreed that Maraldi should take the same position and Jean -Paul Grandjean de Fouchy (1707-1788) should occupy its old place. Thus, the position of an adjoint was mécanicien free, for the December 23, among others, Buffon was proposed. On January 9, 1734 Buffon had his goal to join the Academy of Sciences achieved.

Another career

1739 he was appointed by King Louis XV. appointed director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, now the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, and later elevated to the rank of count.

After Buffon was in 1733 became a member of the Académie des sciences, he became in 1753 a member of the Académie française. With his inaugural speech Discours sur le style he distinguished himself as a literary theorist and founded his own theory of style that characterized the spirit of the Ancien Régime to the point. Has become famous the phrase Le style est l' homme même ( "The style is the man himself "). This set was by other authors in Latin paraphrases as Stilo primus, doctrina ultimus (or " euphony instead of truth " " First, the style, then the doctrine is " ironic after Jean Paul ), which his scientific habit which should be opposed by Linnaeus. The inaugural address is considered one of the best that has ever been held in the Academy and appeared in more than 60 editions.

But Buffon still lent his hand in a different way; in 1768 he was far from Montbard, one of the most efficient steel mills, Forges de Buffon build his time. For the first time in the region of the three stages of iron production were carried out in the same place:

  • In the blast furnace, the reduction of iron ore was carried out at a melting process at 1200 ° C.
  • In the middle shed the brittle pig iron was refined to obtain steel.
  • In the last workshop, the iron bars were transformed into semi-finished products, thanks to a water-powered hammer.

On September 21, 1752 Buffon married Marie -Françoise de Saint- Belin- Malain ( 1732-1769 ). With her he had the daughter of Marie -Henriette (1758-1759) and his son Georges Louis Marie (1764-1794), who was guillotined on 10 June in 1794.

Buffon's scientific research

Biological Research

Although Pierre- Louis Moreau de Maupertuis helped to make the Newtonian thinking in France known, but he saw clearly shows the limits of simple Newtonian paradigms for chemistry and especially biology. He took for this reason the ideas of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in his thoughts construct on. Through him, and Émilie du Châtelet also Buffon now was inspired by Leibniz's ideas.

For Buffon nature always remains the same, but changes in their substantial order and form always produces, new formations. In 1742 it succeeded Buffon to win the likewise derived from Montbard and trained physicians Louis Jean -Marie Daubenton to work on his Histoire naturelle générale et particulière. In it Buffon found a skilful taxidermist for his anatomical studies. In 1745 he was warden, and explainer, garde- démonstrateur at the Natural History Cabinet in Paris, Cabinet du roi, later Muséum national d' histoire naturelle.

Buffon's Natural History

Buffon's main work is the general and specific history of nature ( Histoire naturelle générale et particulière ), which he wrote in collaboration with Louis Jean -Marie Daubenton and the original should include fifty volumes. From 1749 until his death in 1788 published 36 volumes. Under the auspices of the Comte de Lacépède another eight volumes were published. In France, translated in many languages ​​work its author gave great scientific recognition and popularity. A German edition ( General History of Nature) with a foreword Albrecht von Haller, appeared from 1752 for basic and Holle in Hamburg, from 1766 also at Holle in Leipzig. A Berlin edition anxious Joachim Pauli from 1771st The Histoire naturelle was published by Buffon as a continuous Edition each individual item and volumes, the composition of which differs in the German editions in the scheme. The Hamburg / Leipzig edition has a different structure than the Berliners.

Contrary to the representative of his contemporary Carl Linnaeus view that all of nature could be detected by means of a taxonomy, Buffon expressed the view that nature is too different and too rich to adapt to such a strict framework. The scientific work of Buffon was based on the methods of observation and experiment. He tried to explain the origin of living things by spontaneous generation of elementary particles and its development as a result of climatic changes, and sat with the hierarchical system of Linnaeus opposed the idea of an evolutionary ladder. His theory was based Buffon by comparative anatomy studies. So he declared useless body parts by the regression formerly useful parts of an ancestor. Buffon was of the opinion that all members of a family of species descended from the same ancestors, starting some perfected by the others, however, have regressed. Buffon saw, for example, a monkey or an incomplete return educated people.

Buffon has not worn all the work alone, but he had a number of partners such as Philippe de Guéneau Montbeillard, Barthelemy Faujas de Saint- Fond, Gabriel Bexon and Charles -Nicolas- de Manon Sigisbert Sonnini Court ( 1751-1812 ).

Evolution of life

Buffon ladder idea had a huge impact on the natural science of his time and worked until the 19th century. ( The ladder idea scala naturae is a back much further -reaching - Neoplatonic - idea that has been very popular, especially by Leibniz in the 18th century, cf. Arthur O. Lovejoy: The Great Chain of Being ) Of great importance is also that Buffon for the gradual evolution of organisms believed for a long period of time. He informed the development of the earth into seven periods. Starting from the thesis that the earth was created by the collision of a comet with the sun and the first life developed in the sea, Buffon took as age of the earth at 75,000 years. To this end, he experimented with balls of iron and other materials of different volumes from these heated and measured the cooling time ( published in the Supplement al'histoire naturelle 1774). So he dared, even if not to exceed the first, the calculated by theologians due to biblical information limit of 6,000 years. Buffon tried to escape the induced resistance by altering his theses particularly controversial views.

His theories and his methodology of scientific research, he explained in detail in the first three volumes of his Histoire naturelle. The main part of the work form descriptions of each animal and plant species. Here, for the first time the skeletal anatomy of the animals was shown that laid the foundations of comparative anatomy.

Buffon has made in the French literary history. His Discours du style and excerpts from the Histoire naturelle could be found for a long time in reading books for schools.

The geological and cosmological considerations

Already in 1745 de Buffon had claimed that the Earth was produced by the collision of a comet with the sun.

It was the second section of the discours of the Histoire Naturelle from 1749, in which he carried out his thoughts on the origin of the earth, preuves de la théorie de la terre. However, he went in 1779 from an age of the Earth at least 75000-80000 years out. This represents the first known date within modern science, which no longer emanated from the calculated from the Bible six thousand years. Because of the opposition of the clergy at the Sorbonne Buffon, however, did not publish his writings.

First, Buffon was through the teachings of Abraham Gottlob Werner, a staunch Neptunist, which is evident in his Universal Natural History from 1746. Buffon saw in ocean currents under the sea, the determining cause of the changes in land masses. Under the influence of Earth's rotation and the currents would, as Buffon took part, on the seabed sediments to pile up the massive mountain ranges. These mountains were to the surface and have been to the mainland when water masses broke into the big, now and then collapsing cavities of the earth's crust and sea levels plummeted by it.

Only later in his Epoque de la nature ( 1778) he came to a cautious approach to the consideration of Plutonists. On the basis of geological facts and testimonies he has been reflecting on the structure of the earth. Again and again, can be found in the " Epochs of Nature " the description of a " peculiar warmth". Buffon said that this was independent of the sunlight, as this would only be able to penetrate deep maximum of 15 to 20 feet into the earth's surface. He therefore assumed that the " peculiar warmth" from the earth tribe, rocks were initially liquid before crystallize this or solidified. As evidence of the " peculiar warmth" he cited the observations of miners who reported different, underground pit temperatures.

Honors

Carl Linnaeus named in his honor, the genus of plants Bufonia the carnation family ( Caryophyllaceae ). Buffonia Adans. ( 1763), Buffona Cothen. (1790) and Buffonea WDJKoch (1836 ) are other (invalid ) spelling of the scientific name of the species.

The lunar crater Buffon was also named after him.

Writings (selection )

Universal Natural History

  • Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière. Imprimerie Royale, later Plassan, Paris 1749-1804, 44 volumes in quarto format Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roy. 15 volumes, Imprimerie Royale, Paris from 1749 to 1767 (of Buffon and Daubenton ).
  • Histoire naturelle des oiseaux. 9 volumes, Imprimerie Royale, Paris from 1770 to 1783 (of Buffon, Guéneau de Montbeillard and Abbé Bexon ).
  • Supplément à l' Histoire naturelle. 7 volumes, Imprimerie Royale, Paris 1774-1789 ( Buffon ).
  • Histoire naturelle of minéraux ( traité et de l' aimant ). 5 volumes, Imprimerie Royale, Paris 1783-1788 ( Buffon ).
  • Histoire des quadrupèdes ovipares et des serpents. 2 volumes, Hôtel de Thou, Paris from 1788 to 1789 (of Lacépède ).
  • Histoire naturelle of poissons. 5 volumes, Plassan, Paris from 1798 to 1803 (of Lacépède ).
  • Histoire naturelle of cétacés. 1 Volume, Plassan, Paris 1804 (of Lacépède ).
  • Stéphane Schmitt, Cédric Cremerie (ed.): Oeuvres Complètes. 36 volumes (planned), Honoré Champion, 2007 - Volume 1: Histoire naturelle, generale et particulière, avec la description du cabinet du Roy. 2007, ISBN 9,782,745,316,011th
  • Volume 2: Histoire naturelle, generale et particulière, avec la description du cabinet du Roy. 2008, ISBN 9,782,745,317,292th
  • Volume 3: Histoire naturelle, generale et particulière, avec la description du cabinet du Roy. 2009, ISBN 9,782,745,317,308th
  • Volume 4: Histoire naturelle, generale et particulière, avec la description du cabinet du Roi. 2010, ISBN 9,782,745,319,289th
  • Volume 5: Histoire naturelle, generale et particulière, avec la description du cabinet du Roi. 2010, ISBN 9,782,745,320,575th
  • Volume 6: Histoire Naturelle, generale et particulière, avec la Description du Cabinet du Roi. 2011, ISBN 9,782,745,321,503th
  • Volume 7: Histoire Naturelle, generale et particulière, avec la Description du Cabinet du Roi. 2011, ISBN 9,782,745,322,395th
  • General History of Nature in all her special parts dealt with; and a description of the Natural History chamber of His Majesty the King of France. With a preface Mr. Doctor Albrecht von Haller [ ... ] reason and Holle, Hamburg / Leipzig from 1750 to 1774.
  • Lord of Buffon's general Natural History. A free men with some additions increased translation for the latest französ. Außgabe from 1769, by F. H. W. Martini. 7 volumes, Joachim Pauli booksellers, Berlin 1771-1774.
  • Buffon 's collected works, together with the supplements, according to the classification by G. Cuvier. Translated by Henry J. Schaltenbrand, 9 volumes, expedition of Buffon Natural History, Cologne 1836-1840.
  • Universal Natural History. Modernized reprint of the seven-book Berlin edition in one volume. Zweitausendeins Frankfurt am Main, 2008, ISBN 978-3-86150-879-3.

Article

  • Bernard le Bouyer de Fontenelle: Solutions de problèmes sur le jeu du franc- carreau. Analysis mémoire de ce. In: Histoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1733. Paris 1735, pp. 43-45 (online, PDF).
  • Bernard le Bouyer de Fontenelle: Sur un problème de méchanique. In: Histoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1733. Paris 1735, pp. 95-98 (online, PDF).
  • Bernard le Bouyer de Fontenelle: Observation de méchanique où de Buffon propose tanner les avec le bois du cuirs chesne. In: Histoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1736th Paris 1739, pp. 119-120 (online, PDF).
  • Recherches de la cause de l' excentricité the couches ligneuses qu'on apperçoit quand on le coupe horizontalement tronc d'un arbre; de l' inégalité d' épaisseur et du nombre de ces différent couches tant dans le bois forme que dans l' aubier. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. . Année 1737 Paris 1740, pp. 121-134 (PDF - Henri -Louis Duhamel du Monceau ).
  • Observations of différents effets que sur les produisent végétaux les grandes et les petites gelées d' Hyver gelées du printemps. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. . Année 1737 Paris 1740, pp. 273-298 (PDF - Henri -Louis Duhamel du Monceau ).
  • Bernard le Bouyer de Fontenelle: Sur la manière dont les arbres et sur ​​les croissent dommages que la gelée leur fait. In: Histoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année in 1737. Paris 1740, pp. 65-71 (PDF).
  • Mémoire sur un moyen facile d' augmenter la solidité, la force et la durée du bois. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1738. Paris 1740, pp. 169-184 (PDF).
  • Mémoire sur la conservation et le rétablissement Forestry. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1739th Paris 1741, pp. 140-156 PDF.
  • Expériences sur la force du bois. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1740. Paris 1742, pp. 453-467 (PDF).
  • Expériences sur la force du bois. Second Mémoire. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année in 1741. Paris 1744, pp. 292-334 (PDF).
  • Bernard le Bouyer de Fontenelle: Théorie des fusées floaters, et moyen de les rendres plus parfaites. In: Histoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1740. Paris 1742, pp. 105-110 (PDF).
  • Formules sur les échelles Arithmétiques où l' on Indique le moyen de grands nombres de ramener promptement à l' expression de l' espèce de progression dont on s'est servi. Louches. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année in 1741. Paris 1741, pp. 219-221 (PDF).
  • Mémoire sur la culture Forestry. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1742. Paris 1745, pp. 233-246 (PDF).
  • Dissertation sur les couleurs accidentelles. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1743rd Paris 1746, pp. 147-158 (PDF).
  • Dissertation sur la cause du strabisme ou des yeux Louches. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1743rd Paris 1746, pp. 231-248 (PDF).
  • Jean -Paul Grandjean de Fouchy: Buffon fait voir à l' Académie un petit veau mort -né monstrueux. In: Histoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1744. Paris 1748, p 12 (PDF).
  • Réflexions sur la loi d'attraction. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1745. Paris 1749, pp. 493-500 (online, PDF).
  • Addition au mémoire qui a pour titre: Réflexions sur la loi d'attraction. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1745. Paris 1749, pp. 551-552 (online),
  • Seconde au addition mémoire qui a pour titre: Réflexions sur la loi d'attraction. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1745. Paris 1749, pp. 580-583 (online).
  • Invention of miroirs ardens, pour une grande brûler à distance. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année in 1747. Paris 1751, pp. 82-101 (PDF).
  • Découverte de la liqueur séminale dans les femelles vivipares, et du réservoir qui la contient. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1748. Paris 1752, pp. 211-228 (PDF).
  • Nouvelle Invention of miroirs ardens. In: Mémoire de l' Académie royale des sciences. Année 1748. Paris 1752, pp. 305-312 (PDF).

Translations

  • Stephen Hales: La statique of végétaux, et l' analyze de l'air. Expériences syphilis nouvelles à la Société royale de Londres. Debure, Paris 1735 (online).
  • Isaac Newton: La Méthode of fluxions et des suites infinies. Debure, Paris 1740 (online).
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