ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Jean Baptiste Biot (1774-1862), French physicist. After a spell in the army Biot studied mathematics and at 26 was teaching physics at the College de France. His research was varied. In 1804 with Gay- Lussac he made an early balloon ascent and made meteorological and magnetic observations up to 5000 metres. His most famous work concerned optical activity. He showed for the first time that different types of quartz rotate the plane of polarised light in different directions, later extending this to many other substances. He demonstrated that the amount of rotation is proportional to the path length of light through the medium and to the medium's concentration.
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