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Auguste-Arthur de La Rive

Auguste-Arthur de La RiveBorn: 9-Oct-1801
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: 27-Nov-1873
Location of death: Marseille, France
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: Switzerland
Executive summary: Traité d'électricité théorique et appliquée

Swiss physicist, born at Geneva on the 9th of October 1801. He was the son of Charles Gaspard de la Rive, who studied medicine at Edinburgh, and after practicing for a few years in London, became professor of pharmaceutical chemistry at the academy of Geneva in 1802 and rector in 1823. The younger de La Rive, after a brilliant career as a student, was appointed at the age of twenty-two to the chair of natural philosophy in the academy of Geneva. For some years after his appointment he devoted himself specially, with François Marcet (1803-1883), to the investigation of the specific heat of gases, and to observations for determining the temperature of the earth's crust. Electrical studies, however, engaged most of his attention, especially in connection with the theory of the voltaic cell and the electric discharge in rarefied gases. His researches on the last-mentioned subject led him to form a new theory of the aurora borealis. In 1840 he described a process for the electro-gilding of silver and brass, for which in the following year he received a prize of 3000 francs from the French Academy of Sciences. Between 1854 and 1858 he published a Traité d'électricité théorique et appliquée, which was translated into several languages. De la Rive's birth and fortune gave him considerable social and political influence. He was distinguished for his hospitality to literary and scientific men, and for his interest in the welfare and independence of his native country. In 1860, when the annexation of Savoy and Nice had led the Genevese to fear French aggression, de la Rive was sent by his fellow citizens on a special embassy to England, and succeeded in securing a declaration from the English government, which was communicated privately to that of France, that any attack upon Geneva would be regarded as a casus belli. On the occasion of this visit the university of Oxford conferred upon de la Rive the honorary degree of D.C.L. When on his way to pass the winter at Cannes he died suddenly at Marseilles on the 27th of November 1873.

Father: Charles Gaspard de la Rive (b. 1770, d. 1834)

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