Jerome Lalande, Diary of a Trip to England 1763
174 pages, 8 illustrations, ISBN 0-9581369-1-2
Jerome Lalande (1732-1807)
In 1763 the French astronomer Jerome Lalande went to England and he kept a diary which still exists. In it he describes his trip, the people he met and social conditions. Like other scientists of the time, he was interested in many things and he discusses experiments on electricity, magnetism and fluid friction, the state of the English and French naval fleets, the trial of John Wilkes, theatrical productions at Covent Garden and Drury Lane, and details of the cost of living.
At the same time the famous watchmaker Ferdinand Berthoud and C.E.L. Camus (responsible for the development of epicycloidal gearing) were sent to London by the French Academy of Science to examine Harrison's watch H4. Lalande spent some time with them as an actual or de-facto member of the delegation. Lalande visited John Harrison and other notable people concerned with the discovery of longitude.
In 1980 the Voltaire Foundation produced a transcript of most of the text, but it has remained inaccessable to people who cannot read French.
My translation includes the entire text of the diary. It also has the explanatory notes from the French transcript, a detailed biography of Lalande, an assessment of him and his diary, and a detailed examination of how the diary was written.
The book is provided as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.
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