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Mersenne and Gassendi

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It is commonly believed—on the authority of many textbooks—that Gassendi (1592—1655) was the first to measure the velocity of sound in air. The evidence for this belief is examined and found to be insufficient. It is suggested that the first measurements were made by Mersenne (1588—1648). Gassendi knew of this work and referred to it inhis writings but did not make any experiments himself. The various values for the velocity of sound attributed to Mersenne by subsequent authorities are shown to be all derived from his original value of 230 toises per second, using different units or different conversion factors.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1951

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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