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How English became science’s lingua franca

History and economics helped the language edge out German, French and Russian

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1:45pm, July 13, 2015
Scientific Babel

TRANSLATED  English has become the international language of science. A historian explains how and why that happened.

Scientific Babel
Michael D. Gordin
Univ. of Chicago, $30

When the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleyev discovered the “periodic law” that he illustrated with a table of the elements, he published his finding first in Russian and then in a German translation. Shortly thereafter, though, the German chemist Lothar Meyer claimed to be first to perceive the periodicity in the properties of the elements

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