Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-558cb97cc8-kfd6t Total loading time: 0.301 Render date: 2022-10-07T06:59:43.830Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": true, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Gustave-Adolphe Hirn (1815–90): engineering thermodynamics in mid-nineteenth-century France

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 June 2006

FAIDRA Papanelopoulou
Affiliation:
6 Alonion Str., Kifissia, 145–62, Athens, Greece. Email: faidrap@gmail.com.

Abstract

This paper examines the activities of the Alsatian physicist–engineer and philosopher Gustave-Adolphe Hirn, whose contribution to thermodynamics and the metaphysical interpretation of heat theory are rather neglected parts of the history of French thermodynamics. The industrial environment in which Hirn was reared, and in which he worked, turned his thoughts to an investigation of thermal phenomena in conjunction with their relevance to the industrial needs of his factory. Nurtured in the intellectual environment of Colmar, Hirn also developed a deep sense of morality that was bound to the Christian world view. His work on heat led him to a generalized metaphysics based on the notion of force. However, despite important work on friction and his ‘independent’ discovery of the mechanical equivalent of heat, Hirn never felt that his work received its due recognition from his contemporaries. Without attributing this negligence solely to Hirn's relative isolation in Alsace and to the absence of formal institutional affiliations, the paper suggests that it was Hirn's particular scientific practice that was at odds with well-established practices employed by other French scientists and engineers.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2006 British Society for the History of Science

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

This paper was completed during my postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre A. Koyré and I would like to thank Amy Dahan-Dalmedico and Dominique Pestre for their hospitality.I would like to thank Robert Fox, who supervised my Oxford University D.Phil. thesis, on part of which this paper is based, Kostas Gavroglu for his insightful and useful comments on various versions of this paper, and my anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on an earlier version of this paper. Sections of this study have been presented to the Modern History Faculty of the University of Oxford, and to the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine of Imperial College London, where I have benefited from the comments and suggestions of the audiences.
5
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Gustave-Adolphe Hirn (1815–90): engineering thermodynamics in mid-nineteenth-century France
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Gustave-Adolphe Hirn (1815–90): engineering thermodynamics in mid-nineteenth-century France
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Gustave-Adolphe Hirn (1815–90): engineering thermodynamics in mid-nineteenth-century France
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *