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M. Bouquet De La Grye

    Naturevolume 82pages286287 (1910) | Download Citation



    A MONG French men of science, few have been more respected or have worked more inde-fatigably than M. Bouquet de la Grye, whose death, at the advanced age of eighty-two, was recently announced. His official work was more immediately connected with engineering and hydrography, but his scientific interests were wide, and he was equally well known as an astronomer and geodesist. As marking his qualities as a hydrographer, it is sufficient to recall that at an early age, shortly after leaving the Ecole Polytechnique, he took a prominent part in charting the parts of the Mediterranean adjacent to the coasts of Italy and the Island of Elba. To estimate correctly the importance of this work, we must remember that in the early 'fifties, methods of surveying were not so systematised as they have since become, and mechanical routine had not displaced opportunities for original treatment. Subsequently, he was engaged in correcting the charts of the French Atlantic coast, and in the course of this work he assisted in improving the navigation of the River Loire and contributed greatly to the establishment of the successful port of Nantes. His work on river navigation, and his appreciation of the facilities for traffic which inland waterways offered, seem to have inspired him with the hope of converting Paris into a seaport, utilising the Seine, which he proposed to deepen for the purpose, and avoiding its irregular bends by the construction of canals. A system of docks and the whole machinery of a seaport were to be constructed at Saint Denis. Needless to say that this project, which demonstrates the extent of the imagination and enterprise of the regretted man of science, has not met with public favour. It seems to be the fate of canals either to be rendered useless by the increasing growth in the tonrtage of steamers, or to involve such gigantic expenditure in construction that their commercial success is jeopardised at the outset.

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