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Henri Tresca

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Henri Edouard Tresca (1814-1885)

1885 Obituary [1]

HENRI EDOUARD TRESCA was born at Dunkerque on 12th October 1814, and died in Paris on 21st June 1885, in the seventy-first year of his ago.

He entered the Ecole de Saint-Cyr in 1832, but his taste for science led him thence in 1833 to the Ecole Polytechnique, whence he went in 1835 to the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees.

In 1841 he started as a civil engineer, erecting works for the manufacture of stearic acid and the distillation of mineral oil.

At the Exhibition in London in 1851 he was entrusted with the classification of the French productions.

In 1852 he was invited by General Morin to take the post of engineer in the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, with which his name was thenceforth associated for the rest of his life.

In 1854 he succeeded General Morin in the chair of mechanics, and was appointed inspector of the industrial schools throughout the country, and a member of the committee by whom the appointments of teachers for the schools were made. His various experiments upon mechanical subjects, published in the Annales du Conservatoire, which was a work originated by himself, were speedily recognised as authoritative in other countries as well as France. What he himself regarded as his most important work of all was that to which during the last twenty years of his life his energies were continuously devoted, namely his elaborate investigations into what he boldly and rightly called the flow of solids. Upon this subject he gave a paper at the first meeting of this Institution in Paris in 1867, and again a further paper at the second meeting there in 1878 (Proceedings 1867 page 114, and 1878 page 301).

The services which he rendered as secretary of the metre commission resulted in the adoption of the form designed by himself for the metre standards, whereby strength was combined with lightness. His singular readiness in mastering new subjects was remarkably exemplified by his connection with the Electrical Exhibition in Paris in 1881 ; though possessing but an elementary acquaintance beforehand with this department of science, he at once took the lead in conducting the trials there made of the various apparatus exhibited, and became an authority in regard to experiments upon electric lighting and the transmission of power by electricity.

He was a Member of the French Academy of Sciences ; honorary President of the French Institution of Civil Engineers ; professor and chairman of council in the College of Arts and Manufactures ; professor of mechanics in the Agricultural Institute ; member of the Council of Technical Education ; vice-president of the Society for the Encouragement of National Industry ; a founder and an active vice-president of the International Society of Electricians ; besides holding many other titles both of French and of foreign distinction.

In 1867 he was nominated by the Council of this Institution an Honorary Life Member ; and he was present at the summer meeting in Belgium in 1883, when he took part with all his wonted vigour in the various excursions.

1886 Obituary [2]

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