The Pulfrich Effect: Canales (2001) on Wolf's Battles
Canales, J. The Single Eye: Reevaluating Ancien Regime Science.
History of Science, 2001, 39, pp. 71 - 94 (in press).
Copyright (c) 2001, Science
History Publications, Ltd.
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Charles Wolf, at the Paris Observatory, held the opinion that individual
differences among astronomical observers could be reduced or eliminated
by training them to record events in standardized ways. An opponent,
Herve Faye of the Bureau des Longitudes, held that mechanization was
the solution. Wolf admired and imitated Cassini, an astronomer who, in
the Revolutionary period, attempted at great risk to keep the Observatory
independent of central government.
These excerpts describe how the personal equation was involved in the
struggles for control which ensued. At risk was safe navigation for
shipping, an enormous economic and military factor in those early years
of steam propulsion.
Excerpts on Personal Equation:
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The Pulfrich Effect, SIU-C. Last updated 2001-04-17