La pensée technique de l'Académie Royale des Sciences (1699-1750)

Abstract : As an institution of the absolute French Monarchy first founded in 1666 and later "renewed' by royal decree in 1699, the "Académie Royale des Sciences" brings together the best scientific minds of the Eighteenth Century. Becoming a major player in the technical field did not represent an obvious task for a scientific Academy. The present thesis analyzes how and why such an action came to be while measuring its importance. Starting with an examination of inventions and moving on to technical studies, taking into consideration technical assessments as well as the descriptions of currently employed techniques, we see the emergence of a new type of operational thinking characterized by the rule of technology. Once established during the first half of the 18th century, such a conceptual régime enables a new relationship to develop between science and techniques. Progressively abandoning the current techniques with the aim of studying new techniques and uncovering the principles and causes of their functioning rather than merely describing the latter, the Academy thus began to apply the methods of early modem science to techniques. Gaining currency in ever wider circles, this way of thinking was both taught and shared in new places. Hence technical training moves from transmission and apprenticeship to a specifically French way of training engineers scientifically. During this period special links are established between the Academy and military engineering schools as well as with a school of "practical mathematics” founded in Reims. Those scientists who first endowed technical thinking with a scientific outlook will in tum give way to engineers who become scientists.
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Bernard Delaunay. La pensée technique de l'Académie Royale des Sciences (1699-1750). Histoire. Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013PA010637⟩. ⟨tel-01232867⟩

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