Michael R. Lynn
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explores the appropriation of science in French society and the development of an urban scientific culture. It looks at the audience, identified through advertisements and course descriptions, as well as the economics of courses. The book describes that organizations like the Musée de Monsieur drew in members with a variety of motivations. The spread of popular science in urban culture encouraged people to speak about science and participate in scientific debates, whether or not they really were qualified to do so. The book examines hot air and hydrogen balloons, first invented in France in 1783. The discovery of balloons spawned reams of poetry, plays, and scientific treatises, as well as much admiration.

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