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Georges-louis Leclerc Buffon

Picture of Georges-louis Leclerc Buffon

Date of Birth: 09/07/1707

Age: 80

Place of birth: Montbard (Burgundy)

Citizenship: France

Background

Buffon was the eldest of five children de rich burgundy landlord. Three of his brothers then chose spiritual career and achieved a high position in the church hierarchy. Georges Louis expect a different fate. At 10 years old boy was sent to the Jesuit College in Dijon, where shortly before it moved the whole family. He studied mediocre, and the only thing that interested him at the time, was mathematics. Father Byuf-like background to the eldest son of a lawyer, so after graduating college boy three or four years he studied law. However, enthusiasm for mathematics and natural sciences prevailed, and in 1728 George Louis moved to Angers, where began his studies in medicine, botany and mathematics. In 1730 iz-za participate in the duel he had to drop everything and flee from France. Fortunately, he met with the young Duke of Kingston and his tutor Nathaniel Hickman, and went with them on a long journey. On Buffon he returned home only after two years. During this time, his mother died, leaving his son a considerable fortune. Taking advantage of this, Buffon, in spite of his father, he settled in Paris. There he quickly gained popularity both in the political and the scientific community. Already in 1734 for his mathematical research, especially in the theory of probability, he was elected to the Paris Academy of Natural Sciences. But the scope of his interest in mathematics was not limited. He studied botany, forestry, conducted monitoring of breeding animals, and also translated `Method of fluxions and infinite series` I.Nyu tone and `` static Vegetable S.Gey-LSA.

A new phase in Buffon`s life began in 1739, when he was appointed intendant of the royal garden. Buffon held this post until his death - as much as 50 years, and all of them have been in an intense, intense work. Every spring, Buffon left the estate Montbard, where he was born, but autumn and winter are always held in Paris. But wherever he was, always well-planned your day. Buffon got up at dawn and noon pored over scientific research. Then comes the turn of the financial activities and business meetings. Over the years, he was able to nearly double the territory of the royal garden, has published numerous scientific papers on various topics, write a 36-volume `` Natural History and greatly multiply his fortune. Buffon became a member of many scientific academies, including St. Petersburg, received the title of count, and his statue, made by the order of Louis XVI, during the life of the scientist has been put in front of the Royal Cabinet of Natural History. In 1753, Buffon became a member of the French Academy - one of the `40 bessmertnyh`.

In works on natural history of Buffon was the leading idea of ??the natural origin of the world. He completely rejected interference in this process kakih-libo supernatural forces. Science, in its opinion, should be based not on faith, but on the laws deduced from the nature.

Thus, Buffon denied Newton`s idea about the divine origin of the solar system, offering in this regard own hypothesis. Ka-kai a comet, flying in the vicinity of the Sun, tore off a part of its mass, from which formed the planets and their satellites. All subsequent history of the Earth viewed it as a series of logically successive epochs: the gradual cooling of the planet and the formation of the earth`s crust; condensation of moisture on the surface and the appearance of the ocean, the birth of it zhiz-no; the emergence of land (first as a single continent) and terrestrial animals; final separation of the continents and the formation of their modern shape; Human Origins.

This concept has been one of the first attempts to give not only the natural scientific explanation of the history of the Earth, but its universal chronology, biological factors correlating with geological, which allowed many historians of science Buffon considered one of the pioneers of today`s global environment.

On the basis of his hypothesis, Buffon attempted to experimentally determine the age of the Earth. Determine whether the cooling balls of different materials depends on the size of their diameters, Buffon came to the conclusion that the Earth there are at least 75 kDa years. Some time later, adding his calculations, Buffon got a different meaning - to 3 million years.. But this figure does not even he dared to publish - it has been preserved only in the drafts. The fact that, according to biblical tradition, the world was created between the VI and IV century BC. 75 kDa years and that was too much. The reaction of the church at that date was sharply negative, however, as the whole hypothesis of Buffon. There was even an anonymous pamphlet, in which the scientist accused almost of impiety: `While other writers, entertaining us the history of a particular insect, able to elevate us to the idea of ??the Creator, Mr. Buffon, explaining the structure of the world, allows us to almost ignore the Creator ` .

Buffon and developed his own concept of the origin of life on Earth, the present distribution of animals on our planet and their diversity. He completely rejected the idea of ??preformation metaphysical, that is, the pre-existence of embryos in the parent body and tended to the view of those who claimed to be responsible for the formation of embryos special `` nutrient consisting of organic molecules. Such molecules, having appeared in the process of development of the Earth, Buffon believed further, began to unite to form organisms. Many of them have disappeared, as had not been adapted to the environment. First, when the planet was still very hot, it could survive on a very large animals. As the Earth cooled, they gradually left the North Pole to the equator. But in the end the natural conditions become unfavorable for them so that they become extinct. That is why, explained Buffon, the remains of the giant animals are found in Europe and North America. Meanwhile, organic molecules remaining in the northern regions, formed more and smaller animals. Born in Siberia, they penetrated into Asia, North America, and across the southern Euro-poo - in Africa. Only in South America, they were not included, so there is this original fauna. The smaller animals are, the faster they multiplied and the more varieties of them occurred during the migration process. Accordingly, the major species of animals appeared much smaller.

Buffon was among the first criterion formulated biological VJ yes - he is treated only those beings who, mating, continue his race and retain traits of the species. Having sterile, unable to reproduce an animal (such as a mule) means that his parents belong to different species. From the point of view of Buffon, the similarity in appearance and structure of the animals can not be considered as a criterion of the form - indeed, much more like a mule on a horse than curly spaniel on the English greyhound.

According to Buffon, the view - it is the only systematic category actually exists in nature. All others, such as family, invented just for the convenience of those who classify living organisms, trying to squeeze the rich world in a rather artificial schemes. Here Buffon fairly consistently fought against all forms of metaphysics. To Linnaeus, the founder of biological taxonomy, species were eventually unchanged. In his search for the perfect system he sought to understand and reveal the divine plan of creation. That is, apparently, and raised objections Buffon.

Buffon himself made a classification, which he regarded as a much more simple, pleasant, helpful and no more speculative than any other. In her place was given to the dog after the horse, because in reality what happens - the dog is always running after the horse. It is obvious that the system of Buffon was not based on scientific facts, but common enough to subjective perceptions of the importance of those or other objects.

In XVIII-XIX centuries the work of Buffon, extremely important due to their diversity, originality and impact on his contemporaries, published huge numbers in all European countries. They knew every self-respecting scientist. Since then, it took many years, some ideas of Buffon confirmed, others were wrong, but nevertheless of Buffon remember his name is not forgotten. On it is written in school textbooks and scientific treatises, and it is not in the details, the correctness or incorrectness of his hypotheses, and that he laid the foundations of modern science, one of the first to try to create his integral system