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The ingénieur savant, 1800–1830 A Neglected Figure in the History of French Mathematics and Science

  • I. Grattan-Guinness (a1)
Abstract
The Argument

This paper deals with the achievements of those French mathematicians active in the period 1800–1830 who oriented their work specifically around the needs of engineering and technology. In addition to a review of their achievements, the principal organizations and institutions are noted, as is their importance as sources of employment and influence.

The argument is centered on the word ‘neglected“ in the title. A case is made that a mass of work was produced which made considerable impact at the time but has been overlooked or even completely ignored by historians since. The paper begins with a general discussion of the notion of context, both for the historical figures and for their supposed historians, and several examples of historical distortion are given.

Regarding France itself, we see a professional and research profile rather different from that in other countries. The question of national differences in the organization and prosecution of science is thereby sharply exposed.

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References
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