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The Man Who Flattened the EarthMaupertuis and the Sciences in the Enlightenment$
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Mary Terrall

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780226793603

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226793627.001.0001

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The Final Years

The Final Years

Chapter:
(p.349) 11 The Final Years
Source:
The Man Who Flattened the Earth
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226793627.003.0011

Maupertuis tried to maintain his cordial relations with the Prussian king, promising him that his absence from Berlin was only temporary, while simultaneously exploring other solutions to his dilemma that would allow him to remain in France. Euler's letters from this period contain a startling mixture of news about military campaigns, reports of war-induced austerity in Berlin, scientific news, and prosaic reports of the weekly proceedings at the Academy. Theories, speculations, laws, and empirical evidence are all human productions, with a history, constrained by the limitations of the human senses and intelligence. Maupertuis found himself buffeted by political and military events, and torn by competing personal loyalties. Maupertuis's ambitions extended beyond the structured institutions of science, while remaining firmly grounded in elite bodies.

Keywords:   Maupertuis, Berlin, Euler, military campaigns, science

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