Gay-Lussac in a daring 1804 balloon ascent to investigate terrestrial magnetism and the composition of air at high altitude. Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac (1778-1850) was a French chemist and physicist known for his studies on the physical properties of gases. His first major investigation concerned the thermal expansion of gases. He showed that a common thermal-expansion coefficient applied to all gases. This was significant in the establishment of the Kelvin temperature scale later in the century. 1804, Gay-Lussac and Jean-Baptiste Biot ascended to a height of approximately 13,000 feet to study variations in the Earth's electro-magnetic intensity relative to altitude. In a later solo ascent, he climbed to 23,000 feet (a record held for fifty...
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