My students just learned about Émilie du Châtelet's Salon with Voltaire in her husband's residence in Paris and in their country estates.

I want to give them a homework assignment for extra credit of hosting one.


  • $\begingroup$ Sorry.. what do you mean with "hosting one" ? $\endgroup$ – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Apr 6 '18 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ The Salons met in homes in the evenings. They weren't fixed places in the beginning, they were parties where people showed up to talk science, philosophy, art, etc. So, how to host one...? $\endgroup$ – MrsWhitson Apr 6 '18 at 18:16
  • $\begingroup$ visitvoltaire.com/e_madame_deffand.htm $\endgroup$ – MrsWhitson Apr 6 '18 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, thanks... understood. Thus, you need a Madame with a rich husband and a nice palace. $\endgroup$ – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Apr 6 '18 at 18:28
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe someone of them has to set up in advance a "topic of the day" to be discussed, lke e.g: how to avoid that "space stations" (like the Chinese one) will fall down. $\endgroup$ – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Apr 6 '18 at 19:03

One popular type of salon amusement was spectacular scientific experiments such as sending electric shocks through a line of people holding hands, tricking spiders into eating anything, making scorpions commit suicide, cross-species blood transfusions, and giving opium to dogs.

Some mathematical topics of documented salon origins are Perrault's watch (the tractrix) and Buffon's needle.

Salon conversation also included more philosophical matters such as whether nature is teleological and what a study of blind people tells us about the role of sight in our understanding of the world.


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