Google often features scientists in its “Google Doodle”, and today it is featuring one of the Vatican Observatory’s “Religious Scientists”/ “Scientists of Faith”: Émilie du Châtelet (because it is her 315th birthday).
Take a look at a couple of entries from the Vatican Observatory Faith and Science pages, both pertaining to the Institutions de physique written by Gabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet. Du Châtelet wrote the book for her son (who of course then had to read a physics book his Mom wrote—homeschooling Moms, take note!). It is an early physics textbook, so to speak, that covers Newtonian physics (she published it in 1740). It also contains material related to astronomy. And Du Châtelet made the second chapter of Institutions on the existence of God—not something you are likely to find in a physics textbook today, and not something Google mentions in its discussion of Du Châtelet (click here for that).
- Click here for our F&S entry on “Emilie Du Châtelet: Selected Philosophical and Scientific Writings”.
- Click here for our F&S entry on “Emilie Du Châtelet on the existence of God”
- Click here for all our “Google Doodle Scientist” entries here at Sacred Space Astronomy
- Click here for our “Religious Scientists” section on the Faith & Science pages.
And lastly, a group of faculty and students at the University of Notre Dame worked for years to create a complete translation of Institutions. A conference was held at Notre Dame in 2018 to celebrate completion of their work. The complete translation (in various formats—not published) is available through the website of Katherine Brading, who led this project (but is now at Duke University). Click here for that.