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A scientific work which seeks to demonstrate the 'heresy' of certain incomprehensible phenomena, such as the Marvels of Cagliostro, animal magnetism, mystical magnetisers, the electric girl, the sympathetic snails, spirit-rappers, table-turning , mediums, spiritualists and hypnotism.
1. Louis Figuier (Montpellier, 1819 ~ Paris, 1894)
nephew of Pierre-Oscar Figuier, professor of chemistry at the School of
Pharmacy in Montpellier, he became a doctor of medicine (1841) and earned
his doctorate in pharmacy and chemistry (1844-1853) and a doctorate in
physical sciences (1850). He was a professor at the School of Pharmacy
in Montpellier, followed by a stint (starting in 1853) at the School of Pharmacy in Paris.
His research brought him into opposition with Claude Bernard.
In the wake of refutations of his work, he abandoned his research and
concentrated on making science accessible to laymen. In 1855, he
became the scientific editor at La Presse. In 1859 he founded an
L'Année scientifique et industrielle (or Exposé annuel
des travaux), in which he listed scientific output for the year in
question. He wrote many books, several of which were very succesful: Exposition et histoire des principales
découvertes scientifiques modernes (1851), L'Alchimie et les
Alchimistes (1854), Les applications nouvelles de la Science à
l'Industrie et aux Arts (1856), Les Grandes Inventions anciennes et
modernes (1861), Le Savant du foyer (1862), La Terre avant le déluge
(1863), La Terre et les mers (1864), Les Merveilles de la science (1867-1891).
2. The sympathetic snails
Jules Allix (1818-1897) was born in Fontenay-le-Comte to a
merchant/ironmonger father. He would earn a reputation for himself
for his extreme republican views.
[Sources: Le Courrier de l'Ouest, 23-XII-1986 , Roman d'Amat, Dictionnaire de biographie française, 1936]
In a bid to follow in the footsteps of Jules Allix and Louis Figuier and test the telepathic powers of snails, the staff of the Surnateum must refrain from transmitting the words 'garlic butter' and 'escargot' so as not to trigger a panic among their subjects.