Charles, Jacques Alexandre César

SUBJECT AREA: Aerospace
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b. 12 November 1746 Beaugency, France
d. 7 April 1823 Paris, France
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French physicist who developed the first hydrogen balloon, in 1783.
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In 1783, following the early experiments with small hot-air balloons by the Montgolfier brothers, there was a growing interest in the prospect of a balloon flight with people on board. The Paris Académie des Sciences encouraged one of their physicists, Charles, to carry out experiments and produce a balloon. Charles enlisted the assistance of two brothers, Anne-Jean and Marie-Noël Robert, who were practical craftsmen with experience of coating silk fabric with rubber to make it impermeable to gases. Charles decided to use the recently discovered lighter-than-air gas, hydrogen, for his experiments rather than hot air. After making several unmanned balloons, he had a manned balloon ready for testing on 1 December 1783. Despite the fact that a Montgolfier balloon had already flown with two passengers, there was enormous public interest in the flight: one estimate suggested that 400,000 people turned out to watch. Charles and Marie-Noël Robert ascended from the gardens of the Tuileries and landed after two hours, having covered 45 km (28 miles). Technically the "Charlière" was far superior to the "Montgolfière" and was therefore used by most subsequent balloonists until the introduction of the modern hot-air balloon by the American Paul E. Yost in the 1960s. Following Meusnier's proposals for a dirigible (steerable) balloon, put forward during 1783–5, Charles and the Robert brothers built an elongated balloon incorporating Meusnier's ballonnet principle. It had a rudder but the method of propulsion, by opening and closing parasols used as paddles, was totally ineffective.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Member of the Académie des Sciences 1795.
Further Reading
L.T.C.Rolt, 1966, The Aeronauts, London. C.Dollfus, 1961, Balloons, trans. C.Mason, London. J.B.F.Fourier, 1825, Notice.
JDS

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • Charles, Jacques-Alexandre-César — ▪ French physicist born Nov. 12, 1746, Beaugency, Fr. died April 7, 1823, Paris       French mathematician, physicist, and inventor who, with Nicolas Robert, was the first to ascend in a hydrogen balloon (1783). About 1787 he developed Charles s… …   Universalium

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  • Jacques Alexandre César Charles — Jacques Charles, Portrait von Julien Léopold Boilly (1796–1874) Jacques Alexandre César Charles (* 12. November 1746 in Beaugency; † 7. April 1823 in Paris) war ein französischer Physiker …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Jacques Alexandre Cesar Charles — noun French physicist and author of Charles s law which anticipated Gay Lussac s law (1746 1823) • Syn: ↑Charles, ↑Jacques Charles • Instance Hypernyms: ↑physicist …   Useful english dictionary

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