Pierre Bouguer

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Bouguer, Pierre


Born Feb. 16, 1698, in Le Croisic, Brittany; died Aug. 15, 1758, in Paris. French physicist; one of the founders of photometry. Member of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1731).

At age 15, after his father’s death, Bouguer replaced him in his duties as a professor of hydrography. Bouguer was the first to establish the concept of a quantity of light, formulate the basic position of visual photometry (the principle of light gradation), describe photometric instruments, and work out methods of measuring the brightness of light. In 1729 he established the law of the weakening of a light ray in an absorbing medium. He was the author of Treatise About the Ship (1746) and A New Work on Navigation, Containing the Theory and Practice of the Navigational Art (1753), which were of great importance in the development of ships and shipping. From 1735 to 1743, along with C. M. de la Condamine, Bouguer headed an expedition organized by the Paris Academy of Sciences, which carried out grade measurements in Peru with the goal of defining the earth’s shape.


In Russian translation:
Opticheskii traktat o gradatsii sveta. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950. (With a bibliography of Bouguer’s works.)
References in periodicals archive ?
A mob murdered a team member and wounded Pierre Bouguer, who was the unsung hero of the mission.
Astronomer Louis Godin, mathematician Pierre Bouguer and geographer Charles Marie de La Condamine offer a snapshot of another time.
En Quito, ciudad milenaria que tuvo importancia capital desde la epoca del Incario, por esas mismas epocas se produjeron tambien hechos que vale la pena mencionar: la visita de la Mision Geodesica francesa liderada por Charles de la Condamine y Pierre Bouguer en el ano 1734, que trajo en sus baules, junto a sus aparatos de medicion, los libros del pensamiento ilustrado; la publicacion en 1767 de la historia del Reino de Quito por el sacerdote jesuita Juan de Velasco, en su destierro en Faenza, Italia, en la cual rescata el pasado historico previo a la llegada de los espanoles; y los libros y acciones de Eugenio Espejo, piedra angular del pensamiento anticolonialista en la entonces Real Audiencia de Quito.
Ferreiro traces the pursuit of this emerging ship science through the work of key individuals, most notably Pierre Bouguer, the "father of naval architecture.
Ferreiro's great hero is Pierre Bouguer (1698-1758), a gifted mathematician who, during a geodesic mission to the Andes from 1735 to 1743, found time to write Traite du navire, de sa construction, et de ses mouvements, the most influential book on the science of ship design in the period.
Only later, when Godin became overbearing, did La Condamine and a gifted mathematician named Pierre Bouguer step in to manage the task together.