Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Explorer and physicist, b. at Paris, 28 January, 1701; d. there 4 February, 1774. After a brief military career he turned to scientific pursuits and explored the coasts of Africa and Asia Minor on the Mediterranean. In 1735, he was selected to direct an expedition to the equatorial regions of South America in order to determine the form of the earth by measuring a meridian and thus establishing the flattening of our globe towards the poles. His companions were Pierre Bouguer and Louis Godin des Odonais. Two officers of the Spanish marine, Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, represented the Government of Spain on the voyage and also made independent observations in the interior. Condamine went to Ecuador and there began his labours, making a fairly accurate triangulation of the mountainous parts and the western sections of Ecuador. On this occasion he discovered that tall mountains deflect the pendulum by their attraction. He remained eight years in South America, then returned to France, where he was chosen member of the Academy of Sciences and of the French Academy and received the cross of Saint Lazarus. While Condamine on account of his ambition and inclination to controversy was a disagreeable character, as an explorer and physicist he stands very high. The topographical work performed by him or under his direction suffered from the relative imperfections of the instruments in use in his time, but the results obtained were astonishing. Not only in physiography and physical geography, but in other branches also his expedition opened a new perspective to investigation. It was the starting point for more extensive explorations of tropical America. The countries he visited became and remained thereafter, classical ground in the annals of natural science. It is claimed that he introduced caoutchouc into Europe, and he also tried to introduce inoculation for smallpox in France.

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: Advent
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Monday, November 30, 2015
  • Will the Chinese Yuan overtake the U.S. Dollar? China moves to ...
  • The shocking amount of control El Chapo's drug cartel has across the ...
  • St. Andrew: Saint of the Day for Monday, November 30, 2015

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 10:9-18
9 that if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 4:18-22
18 As he was walking by the Lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 30th, 2015 Image

St. Andrew
November 30: Andrew, like his brother Simon Peter, was a ... Read More