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Article

C. Truesdell

revised by Murray Campbell

(b La Flèche, March 24, 1653; d Paris, July 9, 1716). French acoustician. In 1670 he went to Paris, where he attended the lectures of the Cartesian physicist Rohault; his works do not display the knowledge of advanced mathematics that characterizes the scientific progress of the age of Newton, although he held a chair of mathematics for a decade. He was elected to membership of the Académie des Sciences (1696), which left him free to develop his interest in acoustics. He thoroughly mastered the idea of frequency and was the first to interpret beats correctly. He also introduced the terms ‘acoustique’ (acoustics), ‘son harmonique’ (harmonic sound) and ‘noeud’ (node). His papers, though not so original as he may have thought them, were fairly clear and descriptive; they were very widely read, and certainly they had great effect upon the centrally important work of Daniel Bernoulli a quarter of a century later. He suffered from a speech defect and is said to have had no ear for music. His works include ...