27 juil

Le voyage du H.M.S. Challenger

Categorie: Harmonie 1

Les aventures des arbres perdus

A l’aube des années 1870, deux éminents scientifiques britanniques réussirent à convaincre l’Amirauté et la Royal Society de financer une longue expédition maritime destinée à comprendre les conditions biologiques des grands bassins océaniques. Ce fut la première grande expédition organisée dans un but scientifique précis : le grand voyage du H.M.S. Challenger marqua le début de l’océanographie moderne…

L’amirauté fournit le navire : le H.M.S. Challenger, corvette à propulsion mixte, voile et vapeur, longueur hors tout 68,9m, puissance de la machine 1.234 CV, équipage 243 hommes Royal Navy.

bois-arbre

Le périple prévu s’écartant des voies commerciales habituelles et des entrepôts de charbon, le navire devait naviguer surtout à la voile. Les aménagements furent faits pour créer des cabines supplémentaires et des laboratoires. Ceux-ci comprenaient un cabinet d’histoire naturelle, un laboratoire de chimie et même un laboratoire photographique.

L’équipe scientifique, placée sous la direction du Professeur Wyville Thomson, était composée de six personnes : Moseley – naturaliste, Von Willemoes Suhm – zoologue, Buchanan – chimiste et physicien, Murray qui assura la publication des travaux de l’expédition. Le Suisse Wild était embarqué comme artiste et secrétaire du professeur Thompson.

bois-arbre-1

4 longues années autour du globe

Le challenger appareilla de Portsmouth, le 21 décembre 1872 et suivit la route Lisbonne, Gibraltar, Madère, les Antilles. Il rentre en mai 1876 après avoir parcouru 127 500 km et traversé une grande portion de l’Atlantique et du Pacifique avec un nombre impressionnant d’échantillons. Cette expédition va permettre en grande partie de comprendre la salinité des océans.

Aujourd’hui encore, le long périple du H.M.S. Challenger fait rêver. Ses photographes, artistes et aventuriers autant que Scientifiques, ont ramené de leurs quatre années d’escales une collection iconographique majeure.

Nous voulions rendre un hommage aux arbres : les photographies que vous pouvez ici admirer datent de 1873…

arbre

Ces photos font partie de la collection du « Natural History Museum », qui propose une banque d’images anciennes de nature, incluant des photos de squelettes, des cartes, documents et illustrations ; des photos de paysages et d’animaux, des vues microscopiques du monde naturel. Leur site se visite comme un musée, pour y découvrir d’étranges images vieilles de 150 ans…

http://PICLIB.NHM.ac.uk/

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