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Observatorium Tusculanum was the name of the small observatory founded by Ole Rømer in the village of Vridsløsemagle in 1704. Ole Rømer is best known today for his discovery of the retardation of light". Personally, he was more taken up with investigating the…

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From the fountains of Versailles to the sewers of Copenhagen

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Time / Periode 1672
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As he departed Copenhagen in 1672, the celebrated scientist Ole Rømer could scarcely have imagined that he would be dabbling in fountains in Paris. But fate had other plans: the water supply to Louis IV's magnificent new palace at Versailles and the many water features of the palace gardens was far from gushing. To solve the problem, the French court contacted the newly established 'Royal Academy of Sciences', the name of a group of scientists of which Ole Rømer was a member. The job of dealing with the incalcitrant water channels fell to the French astronomer Jean Picard. As he had previously managed to get Rømer to come to Paris, he could now invite his Danish colleague to join him in the contract to get water flowing to the royal fountains. The solutions found by the two scientists consisted in establishing a potable water conduit from Roquencourt to Versailles and two reservoirs to supply the Palace's thirsty fountains. Their "key" was to exploit even the slightest difference in elevation to keep the water running. In order to measure the differences in elevation precisely enough, Rømer designed a special levelling instrument. Rømer also tried to enhance the fountains by changing the size of their nozzles and the thickness of the walls of the water pipes. Although it was not only Ole Rømer's merits as a fontainier that caused King Christian V to summon him back to Denmark in 1681, his know-how of mathematically-based solutions in practice was in great demand. And this know-how was much needed when Rømer, as a royally-appointed engineer, was given a number of commissions in Copenhagen such as upgrading the city's water supply and sewers.

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Stories (3)

The vanished observatory

For more than 200 years, the exact location of Ole Rømer's Observatorium Tusculanum remained …

From the fountains of Versailles to the sewers of Copenhagen

As he departed Copenhagen in 1672, the celebrated scientist Ole Rømer could scarcely have imagined …

From the fountains of Versailles to the sewers of Copenhagen

As he departed Copenhagen in 1672, the celebrated scientist Ole Rømer could scarcely have imagined …

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