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Editing out caloric: Fresnel, Arago and the meaning of light

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2000

THERESA LEVITT
Affiliation:
History of Science Department, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
All translations from French source materials are my own.

Abstract

Augustin Fresnel and François Arago are typically credited with jointly establishing the wave theory of light in early nineteenth-century France. Yet the two men, working in different traditions, brought to their collaboration vastly different conceptions of what light was and how it should be studied. This paper traces the work that went into co-ordinating these disparate approaches into a united front, as well as the dissolution of the alliance after 1821. Although the fruits of their alliance proved remarkably stable, in fact agreement between them was never more than partial.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2000 British Society for the History of Science

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