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Paul Boucherot in Pittsburgh

Paul Boucherot’s monument is a subtle play on his profession. Boucherot was an engineer who was a pioneer in DC (Direct Current) power distribution, designing electrical motors and harnessing the sea for electrical power. His name may not be well known to the general public but electrical engineers are familiar with his name since it is attached to a number of Boucherot’s achievements, including Boucherot’s theorem (an equation), a Boucherot cell (a power circuit) and Boucherot’s model (a type of transformer circuit). His monument depicts Prometheus’ punishment for giving man fire.

Prometheus is somewhat complex. In Greek mythology he can be a hero or a trickster. He is a hero of mankind, but Zeus condemned him to perpetual torment for stealing fire. Unchecked power can be dangerous and threaten the very existence of humankind. Thus the full original title to Mary Shelley’s most famous work is Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus.

Colonial fellows benefited from not having to pay admission fees or dues until 1753, when the society’s financial needs caused the exemption to be abolished. Pittsburgh Metro Map (Difficulties in communication could still lead to problems, as when Cotton Mather was wrongly accused of falsely passing himself off as a fellow because his name did not appear on printed lists of fellows.) The Royal Society also sent lists of queries with persons journeying to the colonies in hopes of gathering information systematically. Colonial scientists in the seventeenth century were a heterogeneous lot, but two groups prominently represented were physicians and ministers. Physicians were the group with the most education in the sciences, and ministers like Cotton Mather, in addition to a high level of education and a habit of reading, viewed science in terms of natural theology. Mather’s The Christian Philosopher (1721) was one of many works using the properties of the created world to exalt the glory and providence of God. In the eighteenth century European colonies in the Countrys developed their own scientific communities and institutions, which increasingly claimed independence from their European peers.

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