French Discovery in an Age of Revolution

World-Changing Scientific and Technological Advances, 1789–1815


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About the Book

The chaos of the French Revolution was quickly followed by the somewhat less chaotic rule of Napoleon Bonaparte. For roughly 25 years, France saw five constitutions; countless warring political factions; governments that included a monarchy, a republic, and an empire; and almost constant warfare with most of Europe. At the same time, the French fought from within, sending thousands of its own people to the guillotine.
And yet, there were perhaps more advancements during that time than any other in world history. Two brothers launched hot air balloons, inaugurating the age of flight, more than 100 years before Orville and Wilbur Wright. Modern chemistry was developed, eclipsing the strange and superstitious field of alchemy which proceeded it. The metric system was created. Napoleon Bonaparte’s army explored Egypt for three years, and a French man would later translate the mysterious hieroglyphs. This book details these French advances and more, including the first photograph, the first automobile, and development of the process that spawned computer programming.

About the Author(s)

A former math and science teacher and school administrator, Jim Libby lives in Gresham, Oregon.

Bibliographic Details

Jim Libby
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 15 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9213-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5015-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Notes on the Text ix

Preface 1

Introduction 3

I. Setting the Stage—The French Revolution 7

II. The Advent of Flight 19

III. A Revolution in Chemistry 51

IV. The Measurement of All Things 86

V. Napoléon Bonaparte 105

VI. The Discovery of Egypt 115

VII. Unlocking the Hieroglyphs 143

VIII. The Visionaries 167

Afterword 186

Chapter Notes 189

Bibliography 195

Index 199