Charles Marie de
The King of France and the French Royal Académie des Sciences sent two teams to find out the answer, one to Lapland and another to
The group also included Louis Godin des Odenais, Pierre Bouguer, and two officers of the Spanish marine, Antonio de Ulloa, and Jorge Juan y Santacilia. The latter two represented the Government of Spain on the journey and also made independent observations in the interior. They landed in
Condamine’s mandate was to find out the shape of the earth by using a meridian and thus ascertaining the flattening of our globe toward the poles. Once in
Condamine, Godin and Bouguer were soon involved in disagreements. They finished their measurements by 1739, measuring the length of an arc of one degree at the Equator, but they got word that the
The route Condamine chose began at the furthest traversable reaches of the
After passing through Pongo of Manseriche where the river narrowed from 1500 to
The expedition changed from rafts to two large canoes at Borja, each
Several explorers of the
He also noted local rubber production techniques, calling the substance caoutchouc after the local term for weeping wood. Caoutchouc was named “rubber” in the 1770s after English scientist Joseph Priestley noticed that the substance could be used to erase pencil marks from paper. American inventor Charles Goodyear discovered vulcanization (a method of treating rubber to make it strong and elastic) in 1839 when he unintentionally dropped a combination of rubber and sulfur on a hot stove.
Condamine sent back some rolls of crude rubber in 1736, together with a report of the products manufactured from it by the people of the
Natural rubber for commercial use is taken almost exclusively from Hevea brasiliensis, a tree native to
As an explorer and physicist Condamine ranks very high, though because of his ambition and inclination to controversy he was a disagreeable character. The topographical work done by him or under his direction suffered from the comparative imperfections of the instruments in use at his time, but the results obtained were amazing. Not only in physiography and physical geography, but in other branches also his mission opened a new perspective to investigation. Father Fritz´s maps, the only available of the Amazon at the time, were corrected by Condamine and Condamine´s version closely resembles today´s Amazon.
He stayed in