Friday, March 12, 2010

John Desaguliers...scientist with an amusing story

John Theophilus Desaguliers
March 13th, 1683 to February 29th, 1744

A scientist, a priest, and lecturer for the populace.

Bill Ashworth [Linda Hall Library Newsletter] wrote...

John Theophilus Desaguliers, an English physicist of French origin, was born Mar. 12, 1683. The early 18th century was a time when experimental physics courses, and physics demonstrations, started to become very popular, and Desaguliers was a master of the art. He taught first at Oxford, then in London, and he became official demonstrator at the Royal Society, in a post originated by Robert Hooke. Armed with air pumps, electrical machines, and even a “condensing engine” (an early steam engine), Desaguliers would wow his audiences with the latest in Newtonian physics (and when at the Royal Society, with Newton himself in the President’s Chair). Because his livelihood depended on attendance at his lectures, Desaguliers did not publish his lectures--you had to go there, pay your money, and write them down yourself.

Now, here's the amusing part...

In 1719, one of his students published his lectures without permission. Desaguliers at first protested, but then, making the best of the situation, he came to a financial agreement with the publishers, added another title page taking credit for the lectures, and even provided a list of errata so that the imperfect transcriptions could be corrected by the reader.

A course of experimental philosophy, Volume 1 by, John Theophilus Desaguliers

I could not find a copy of volume 2.

John Theophilus Desaguliers [Wikipedia]

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