Another cat and some more tombs at the Montmartre Cemetery.
André-Marie Ampère (1775-1836), physicist and mathematician, specialised in electromagnetism and has given his name to the measurement unit of electric current. Ampere is one of the seven of the International System of Units:
- metre for length (Yes, metre, not feet…!!)
- kilogram for mass (Yes, kilogram, not pounds…!!)
- second for time
- ampere for electric current
- kelvin for temperature (This is the scientific measurement going from the “absolute zero”, commonly used in conjunction with °C – centigrades – having the same magnitude. Absolute zero at Kelvin is = minus 273,15 °C.) (Fahrenheit is still in use in the US… and Belize, Myanmar and Liberia!! It seems that 100 °F was what Fahrenheit noted when he put the thermometer in the mouth of his wife and the 0 °F should correspond to the coldest night he had experienced in Danzig where he lived. He translated this by measuring the temperature of a special mix of ice, water and some salt.)
- candela for luminous intensity (Basically, a normal candle emits light of one candela…)
- mole for amount of substance (Refers to molecule…)
Ampère also invented the ammeter (to measure the amperes), the first electric telegraph (together with Arago), the electromagnet…. He was a professor at the Paris polytechnic school.
André-Marie is buried with family members, including his son Jean-Jacques Ampère (1800-64), who was an eminent philogist (languages and their origins). He studied folk-songs and popular poetry especially in Scandinavia and Germany and obviously his works impressed and influenced Goethe. He taught at Sorbonne and became a member of the French Academy.
Léon Foucault (1819-68) was a physicist, who undertook measurements of the speed of light (0,6% from today’s value), discovered something called “eddy currents”, named the gyroscope, improved Daguerre’s photographic processes, worked on improving telescopes …, but he’s most known for the “Foucault pendulum”, a visual proof of the earth rotation. I already referred to pendulums to be seen in previous posts - about the Pantheon, where the first public experiment with a 67m (220ft) long wire and a 28kg (62lbs) bob was performed in 1851 - and about the “Arts-et-métiers” (Arts and Crafts) museum where another “original” version of the pendulum can (could?) be seen. (It seems that the cable broke last year… I haven’t been back since.)
Umberto Eco’s “Foucault’s Pendulum” is a fascinating book although the pendulum has only a symbolic significance in the novel. The book opens with the narrator hiding and spending the night in the “Arts-et Métiers” museum.
This little video should help you to explain how it works.
The third and last inventor (at least for today) is Adolphe Sax (1814-94). Born in a family of musical instrument manufacturers and an excellent flutist, he improved a lot of existing instruments and invented many others; bass clarinet, saxhorns, saxotrombas… and the saxophone. Of course, the saxophone, in its different versions, is mostly related to jazz music with performers like Charlie Parker, Coltrane, Rollins, Mulligan, Getz, Bechet, Garret… (and Bill Clinton), but already from the beginning, some “classical” composers like Berlioz (also buried at the Montmartre cemetery, see previous post) and later Debussy, Ravel, Hindemith, Prokofiev, Honegger... have written for the instrument.
This may help you to find the tombs if you are interested.