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PIERRE PREVOST (1751-1839)

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Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 312 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PIERRE PREVOST (1751-1839), Swiss philosopher and physicist, son of a Protestant clergyman in Geneva, was born in that city on the 3rd of March 1751, and was educated for a clerical career. But he forsook it for law, and this too he quickly deserted to devote himself to education and to travelling. He became intimate with J. J. Rousseau, and, a little later, with Dugald Stewart, having previously distinguished himself as a translator of and commentator on Euripides. Frederick II. of Prussia secured him in 178o as professor of philosophy, and made him member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften in Berlin. He there became acquainted with Lagrange, and was thus led to turn his attention to physical science. After some years spent on political economy and on the principles of the fine arts (in connexion with which he wrote, for the Berlin Memoirs, a remarkable dissertation on poetry) he returned to Geneva and began his work on magnetism and on heat. Interrupted occasionally in his studies by political duties, in which he was often called to the front, he remained professor of philosophy at Geneva till he was called in 18ro to the chair of physics. He died at Geneva on the 8th of April 1839. Prevost published much on philology, philosophy, and political economy; but he will be remembered mainly for having published, with additions of his own, the Traite de physique of G. L. Le Sage, and for his enunciation of the law of exchange in radiation. His scientific publications included De l'Origine des forces magnetiques (1788), Recherches physico-mecaniques sur la chaleur (1792), and Essai sur le calorique rayonnant (1809). PREVOST-PARADOL, LUCIEN ANATOLE (1829-1870), French man of letters, was born in Paris on the 8th of August 1829. He was educated at the College Bourbon and entered the Ecole Normale. In 1855 he was appointed professor of French literature at Aix. He held the post, however, barely a year, re-signing it to become a leader-writer on the Journal des Mats. He also wrote in the Courrier du dimanche, and for a very short time in the Presse. His chief works are Essais de politique et de litteralure (three series, 1859-1866), and Essais sur les moralistes francais (1864). He was, however, rather a journalist than a writer of books, and was one of the chief opponents of the empire on the side of moderate liberalism. He underwent the usual difficulties of a journalist under that regime, and was once imprisoned. In 1865 he was elected an Academician. The ac-cession of Emile 011ivier to power was fatal to Prevost-Paradol, who apparently believed in the possibility of a liberal empire, and consequently accepted the appointment of envoy to the United States. This was the signal for the most unmeasured attacks on him from the republican party. He had scarcely installed himself in his post before the outbreak of war between France and Prussia occurred. He shot himself at Washington on the , rth of July 187o, and died on the loth.
End of Article: PIERRE PREVOST (1751-1839)
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