De la fourmi à l’atome : les sciences naturelles vues et vécues par Charles Janet (1849-1932)

Abstract : The French naturalist Charles Janet (1849-1932) is remained on the margins of the great scientific figures. However, the Academy of Sciences acknowledged some of his entomological works and nowadays, his atomic classification emerges in discussions of chemists. Graduated from Ecole Centrale, civil engineer and manufacturer in province, he was among other things, geologist, paleontologist, entomologist, biologist and chemist even if these disciplines reflect only a part of his research. Unsung and split in his specialities, his works have been very little studied and never in an overall view. Hence, the biography proposed here will go beyond these disciplinary divides. Through the own perceptions of Janet, we will engage our project towards the microhistory that gives us the way to observe the work of a scholar. It will be revealing some functions, uses and sociability of the local or national societies that arise in real scientific authority and we will examine their links with the Academy of Sciences. The main will be the Zoological Society of France of which Janet became president. In addition, he allows us to observe a macro-historical trend, which is that of the specialization and the marginalization of entomology. This will lead us to question the classic duality 'professionals versus amateurs' among scientists. Thanks to his polyvalency, his long career both off and in the official science, Janet is a privileged witness of the natural sciences at the turn of the 19th century. Trace Janet’s life and work, is observing science through the anonymous people who might be raised for a while at the level of the glories of their era. If this research reflects the practices of an unsung scientist, it represents paradoxically (in our view) most of the naturalists of his time
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Loïc Casson. De la fourmi à l’atome : les sciences naturelles vues et vécues par Charles Janet (1849-1932). Histoire, Philosophie et Sociologie des sciences. PSL Research University; EHESS - Paris; Centre Alexandre Koyré - CRHST, 2018. Français. ⟨tel-01803799⟩

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