Leon Foucault, French physicist

Leon Foucault, French physicist

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Credit: EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Leon Foucault (1819-1868), French physicist. After training as a physician, Foucault turned to physics and joined Fizeau in measuring the speed of light. This measurement was improved when he developed a method of reflecting light off mirrors. Foucault showed that light moves slower in water which was evidence for the wave theory of light. His famous experiment of 1851 demonstrated the Earth's rotation by swinging a giant pendulum (Foucault's pendulum). He was a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (1864), having earlier received its Copley Medal (1855). He was also an Officer of the Legion of Honour (1862).

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