Jan Dlugosz University in Czestochowa (Poland)
Knowledge and Technology Transfer in the Age of the Enlightenment: The Scientific Correspondence between Franciszek Bieliński (1683–1766) and Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau (1700–1782)
Scientific life in Europe in the middle of the 17th century was characterised by numerous academies of sciences and scientific associations whose aim was to propagate the development of the sciences, art and literature. Some called it “the new Age of Academies all over Europe”. They gathered together not only educated professionals but also a large number of amateur scientists. They called for the deliberate abandonment of verbal dispute in favor of visual demonstration/experimentation, and for the creation of salaried scientific professionals who would devote their full time to the enterprise. These scientists conducted numerous experiments whose results were demonstrated at academic sessions.
Franciszek Bieliński became Grand Marshal of the Crown in 1742. During the many years of his public service, he aimed to improve the well-being of Warsaw inhabitants, especially by paving the streets and creating a modern sewer system. In light of recent scholarly studies, Franciszek Bieliński is perceived as a figure of very wide horizons, striving to join the Parisian academic scientific discourse in order to transfer knowledge and technology to Poland. Bieliński exchanged letters with the eminent member and three-time president of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1666–1803), Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau, who among numerous other projects tested new methods of horticulture, agriculture and forestry.
The aim of this presentation is to discuss the scientific research undertaken by Bieliński in regards to technology transfer in the area of agriculture, on the basis of unanalyzed documents. Recently found correspondence shows that Marshal Bieliński was involved in experimental research supervised by Duhamel du Monceau, under the aegis of the Paris Academy of Sciences. It pertained to modern agricultural crops and the application of new technologies. The agricultural experiments conducted for many years by Bieliński on his private lands in Otwock were focused on improving and increasing agricultural production in accordance with the instructions given by Duhamel du Monceau. An interesting research finding was the detailed description of one of the earliest transfers of advanced technology in the field of agricultural machinery. Reports of work conducted in Poland, which were sent to Duhamel du Monceau, proved to be so useful and important that they were mentioned by him in the proceedings of the Paris Academy of Sciences.