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In early 1809, a peculiar acoustics demonstration by Chladni, a German physicist, arose in Sophie Germain her intellectual curiosity. At that time, the learned community in Paris was once again vibrant, spurred by the support of Napoléon. The first graduates from the École Polytechnique were working alongside senior researchers, paving new roads in applied mathematics and physics. Scientists from abroad were descending in Paris to learn from the French and to share with them their own scientific discoveries. Acoustics and elasticity theories were emerging.
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Robert Hooke was an English scientist who made contributions to many different fields including mathematics, optics, mechanics, architecture and astronomy. In 1660 he discovered an instance of Hooke’s law while working on designs for the balance springs of clocks. However, he only announced the general law of elasticity in his lecture Of Spring, which he gave in 1678.
Rapport adopté par la Classe des Sciences mathématiques et physiques, et par celle des beaux arts, dans les séances du 13 février et 18 mars 1809, sur l’ouvrage de M. Chaldni relatif à la théorie su son. (De Prony, rapporteur). Journal de physique, de chimie et d’histoire naturelle, Volume 68, Avril 1809.
Biot. Recherches sur l’intégration des équations différentielles partielles, et sur les vibrations des surfaces. Lu le 21 mai 1800 (1er prairial an VIII). Mémoires de l’Institut national des sciences et arts (T. 3, 21–111).
Stupuy (1896), p. 345.
- Chladni and His Acoustic Experiments
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