Jules Gabriel Verne (1828 –1905)
Jules Gabriel Verne (1828 –1905), French author, considered the father of modern Science fiction as he wrote about space, air, and underwater travel before aircraft, space craft and submarines were invented. His best known novels are A Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869–1870), Around the World in Eighty Days (1873) and The Mysterious Island (1875).
Some of his works have been made into films.
A Journey to the Centre of the Earth is about a group of man led by a scientist who descend into a volcano to reach the centre of the earth. They have to face many adventures and dangers such as , prehistoric and come out to the surface again in southern Italy.
A Journey to the Centre of the Earth
In this passage Jules Verne explains the point of view of the scientist, protagonist of the novel, about scientific theories and discoveries.
“All the theories of science demonstrate such a feat to be impracticable.”
“The theories say that, do they?” replied the Professor in the tone of a meek disciple. “Oh! unpleasant theories! How the theories will hinder us, won’t they?”
I saw that he was only laughing at me; but I went on all the same.
“Yes; it is perfectly well known that the internal temperature rises one degree for every 70 feet in depth; now, admitting this proportion to be constant, and the radius of the earth being fifteen hundred leagues, there must be a temperature of 360,032 degrees at the centre of the earth. Therefore, all the substances that compose the body of this earth must exist there in a state of incandescent gas; for the metals that most resist the action of heat, gold, and platinum, and the hardest rocks, can never be either solid or liquid under such a temperature. I have therefore good reason for asking if it is possible to penetrate through such a medium.”
“So, Axel, it is the heat that troubles you?”
“Of course it is. Were we to reach a depth of thirty miles we should have arrived at the limit of the terrestrial crust, for there the temperature will be more than 2372 degrees.”
“Are you afraid of being put into a state of fusion?”
“I will leave you to decide that question,” I answered rather sullenly. “This is my decision,” replied Professor Liedenbrock, putting on one of his grandest airs. “Neither you nor anybody else knows with any certainty what is going on in the interior of this globe, since not the twelve thousandth part of its radius is known; science is eminently perfectible; and every new theory is soon routed by a newer. Was it not always believed until Fourier that the temperature of the interplanetary spaces decreased perpetually? and is it not known at the present time that the greatest cold of the ethereal regions is never lower than 40 degrees below zero Fahr.? Why should it not be the same with the internal heat? Why should it not, at a certain depth, attain an impassable limit, instead of rising to such a point as to fuse the most infusible metals?”
radius: the distance from the centre to the edge of a circle
leagues: old unit for measuring (about 5 Kms.)
putting on: assuming