Marc-Auguste Pictet

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Marc-Auguste Pictet

Marc-Auguste Pictet (French: [piktɛ]; July 23, 1752 – April 19, 1825) was a physicist, chemist, meteorologist and astronomer from Geneva, Switzerland.

Pictet's scientific research was far ranging, but leaning towards natural sciences, such as astronomy [In honour to his researches, a crater of the Moon has been called by his name. (1)] , chronometry, but especially meteorology. In 1790, Pictet was one of the eight founding members of the Geneva Society of Physics and Natural History. In 1796, he, his younger brother Charles, and his friend Frédéric-Guillaume Maurice began writing and publishing a monthly periodical entitled Bibliothèque Britannique. It covered wide ranging scientific topics from a literary, economic, and policy standpoint.

Pictet was a member of the Royal Society of London and of the Académie des Sciences. His expertise and relationships extended as far as the United States, and Thomas Jefferson, with whom he corresponded. Pictet was the director of the Geneva Observatory for approximately 30 years, and as such oversaw the installation of a meteorological station on Great St. Bernard mountain in the Alps.

The Geneva Society of Physics and Natural History offers a yearly award to a graduate student level researcher called the Marc-Auguste Pictet Prize. It is awarded to "a student whose work is recognized as an authority in the history of science". Winners are chosen by a panel of University of Geneva professors and field experts. The prize itself is a medal and a cash award provided by the Marc-Auguste Pictet Fund.

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  • (1) « … un cratère lunaire porte son nom en hommage à ses travaux en astronomie. » In : A pas savants dans les rues de Genève, Le Temps, 30 mai 2009. An exposition commemorating the 450th anniversary of the University of Geneva.)

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