Institute and Museum of History of Science, Florence, ITALY

                      The main characters                   
Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) Jacques-Alexandre Le Tenneur (died after 1652) Raffaello Magiotti (1597-1656)

We know little about his life. A friend of Mersenne and a correspondent of Gassendi, Le Tenneur lived in Paris until around 1645, then moved to Clermont-Ferrand, where he assumed the role of Counsellor in the local senate.
Le Tenneur is the author of one volume, the De motu naturaliter accelerato, published in 1649, in which he enters the debate taking place in France over the new dynamic theories announced by Galileo. He opposed the judgements of the Jesuits Pierre Le Cazre and Honoré Fabri, who discounted the validity of the galileian thesis by their hypothesis that the increase of distance passed in equal times by a falling body being equal to the progression of odd numbers. He defended the Pisan scientist's conclusions, demonstrating, that, as Galileo had claimed, the acceleration of a falling body is directly related to time, not space.
In January, 1648, Mersenne wrote to Le Tenneur, asking him to carry out an experiment aimed at measuring atmospheric pressure. The idea was to carry a barometer to the summit of the Puy-de-Dôme, and check to see if the mercury levels had changed during the ascent. The experiment was not carried out (it would in fact be Perier who performed it for Pascal, that same year). Le Tenneur expressed the mistaken conviction that the liquid level in the barometric tube would show, even at altitude, the same levels recorded at sea-level.





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