Joseph Plateau, Belgian physicist

Joseph Plateau, Belgian physicist

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Credit: BILDAGENTUR-ONLINE/TH FOTO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau (1801-1883), Belgian (Wallonian) physicist and pioneer in optical devices. Plateau studied at the University of Liege. He then taught mathematics and published on the mixing of colours leading to his doctorate. In the 1830s, he invented optical devices: the anorthoscope and phenakistiscope (an early stroboscopic device). He became professor of physics at the University of Ghent in 1835, but by 1843 had become blind. He continued to work in physics, publishing collections of his research on a range of topics including liquid films, surface tension, irradiation and hydrostatics. This wood engraving dates from circa 1888.

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