Les 350 ans de l'Observatoire de Paris

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L'Agorad'Arago ...

Arago’s agora. In the light of the stars, the light of words radiates… For its 350 years, the Observatory of Paris opens a digital guestbook. In homage to the generous and universal mind of Francois Arago, one of his most illustrious scientists. He invites all the “thinkers” of our time, whatever their origin, to write a message on the large blackboard used by Arago for his famous courses of popular astronomy in the nineteenth century: a bequest to the future generations.
A project carried out by artist Claude Courtecuisse, to be discovered in June 2017.


I maintain that it is possible to usefully explain astronomy, without diminishing it, I almost said without degrading it, so as to make its highest conceptions accessible to people almost foreign to mathematics” (Arago, Astronomie populaire, Vol. 1, 1854).


François Arago, a generous scientist 

François Arago (1786-1853) was a leading figure in French science during the first half of the 19th century. He used his considerable influence to help scientists of his time develop and communicate their ideas.

He was also an outstanding popularizer and a promoter of science and technology. For thirty three consecutive years, he gave a public lecture on popular astronomy which was a huge success. His Astronomie populaire in four volumes was published the year after his death.

One of the last humanists, Arago was interested in many topics: physics, astronomy, geodesy, oceanography, inventions such as photography, the electric motor and the telegraph …


Arago presents the details of the Daguerre's photographic process during the public session of the Academy of Sciences,19 août 1839 - droits : Bibliothèque de l'Observatoire de Paris.Arago's public lecture on popular astronomy at Observatoire de Paris - droits : Bibliothèque de l'Observatoire de Paris François Arago - crédits : Observatoire de Paris.Arago's Blackboard at Observatoire de Paris - droits : Claude Courtecuisse / Observatoire de Paris.