From this graph, he constructed the following graph: the evaporation rate as a function of temperature. The slope of the curve at E, DEG, is the change in height of water per unit time, or the evaporation rate, the desired quantity. He derived the slow at each time and plotted the slope vs the temperature at that time.

Lambert was the first to manipulate experimental data in this way. Computing the tangent of the curve to estimate the derivative is an example of a graphical calculation. However, what was most novel was that he then replotted his data to make a graph of evaporation rate vs. temperature.


[1] Early Experimental Graphics, L. Tilling, British Journal of the History of Science, 8 (1975), 193-213

[2] p. 45-46, In The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, E. Tufte

Copyright© 2005 by Pat Hanrahan