Alexis Clairaut (1713-1765)

Chronologie de la vie de Clairaut (1713-1765)

(12) 1 juin 1749 : À la Royal Society :
The President acquainted the Society that he had received from Mons[ieu]r Clairaut a letter in French dated Paris 3 June 1749 (N.S.) the content of which M[onsieu]r Clairaut desires he would communicate to the Society.

The substance of the said letter was read; by which Mons[ieu]r Clairaut acquainted the President, that he can now let him know and desires him to inform the Society in what the packet [C. 40] which he sent to him and desired him to keep sealed for some times consists. He says it is a new result upon the motion of the apogee of the Moon which he has found to be sufficiently conformable to the true one, by making use of a principle, which none of the geometricians who had treated the same question as himself had thought of considering, and which occasioned M[onsieu]r Euler's M[onsieu]r d'Alembert's and his M[onsieu]r Clairaut's error. He did not perceive the consequences of this principle, till a very few days after having sent to the President the printed sheets of his memoir, which he [begged ?] of the Society to examine: and thought the method he has taken the most effectual to [skew?] that he was the first to discover of his own mistake. He desires the president not yet to unseal his paper, because he has no mind to publish the artifice he made use of to come at the true motion of the apogee, till he gives at the same time his complete theory of the Moon which he hopes shortly to do and to communicate it to the Society as a fresh mark of his real and respect.

Thanks were ordered by the president for this communication (RS, JBC 20, pp. 131-132).
Le président de la Royal Society transmettra la lettre de Clairaut à John Machin le (31 août 1749) 20 août 1749, qui déposera lui-même un pli cacheté (cf. (11 février 1751) 31 janvier 1750).
Courcelle (Olivier), « (12) 1 juin 1749 : À la Royal Society », Chronologie de la vie de Clairaut (1713-1765) [En ligne], [Notice publiée le 1 août 2010].