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A Comet of the Enlightenment: Anders Johan Lexell's Life and Discoveries (Vita Mathematica) Hardcover – May 23, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-3319006178 ISBN-10: 3319006177 Edition: 2014th

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Editorial Reviews


From the book reviews:

“A Comet of the Enlightenment, authored by Johan C.-E. Stén, is the first full biography of Anders Johan Lexell (1740–1784) … Stén does a masterful job of showing us not only Lexell the person, but also how Lexell’s professional life and choices were influenced by the political and academic cultures of his day. … Readers of A Comet of the Enlightenment will learn a lot about Lexell and even more about the enlightened culture in which he lived.” (Cindia Davis Stewart, MAA Reviews, October, 2014)

“The book is much more than a biography because it includes the broad cultural surrounding. … The book includes many beautiful pictures, some of them in colours. … At the end, the author gives a list of Lexell’s publications, containing 107 entries. This biography is to be highly recommended not only to historians, but as well to historians of astronomy and to historians of mathematics.” (Karin Reich, zbMATH, Vol. 1296, 2014)

From the Back Cover

The Finnish mathematician and astronomer Anders Johan Lexell (1740–1784) was a long-time close collaborator as well as the academic successor of Leonhard Euler at the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg. Lexell was initially invited by Euler from his native town of Abo (Turku) in Finland to Saint Petersburg to assist in the mathematical processing of the astronomical data of the forthcoming transit of Venus of 1769. A few years later he became an ordinary member of the Academy. This is the first-ever full-length biography devoted to Lexell and his prolific scientific output. His rich correspondence especially from his grand tour to Germany, France and England reveals him as a lucid observer of the intellectual landscape of enlightened Europe. In the skies, a comet, a minor planet and a crater on the Moon named after Lexell also perpetuate his memory.

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