Époques de la nature

10 April 1779 publication of le Comte de Buffon’s Époques de la Nature. Image: François-Hubert Drouais, Portrait de Georges-Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon. This is a faithful photographic reproduction of an original two-dimensional work of art at the Musée Buffon à Montbard, and, so, is public domain, following U.S. case of Bridgeman v. Corel (1999).

Using thermal data, Comte de Buffon publishes Époques de la Nature, in which he projects the inevitable refrigeration of the Earth through secular cooling, in what Percy Bysshe Shelley would later call “the great Winter.”

Note that some editions carry the date of 1778 but the work actually went on sale in 1779. Click here for the original text in French.


Martin Meisel, “On the Age of the Universe”