Gay-Lussac and Biot balloon ascent, 1804

Gay-Lussac and Biot balloon ascent, 1804

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Gay-Lussac and Biot balloon ascent. 19th-century illustration of the first balloon ascent specifically for scientific purposes. Sponsored by the French Academy of Sciences, French physicist and chemist Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac (1778-1850) and Jean-Baptiste Biot (1774-1862), also a physicist, made the ascent on 24 August 1804 to a height of 4000 metres. They tested magnetism, and air density, humidity, and temperature. Artwork from 'Aerostation - Aviation' (1911) by French civil engineer Max de Nansouty (1854-1913), part of the 'Les merveilles de la science' series of 1867-1891 by Louis Figuier.

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