Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Fizeau, Armand-Hippolyte-Louis

  • William Tobin
Reference work entry

BornParis, France, 23 September 1819

DiedVenteuil, Marne, France, 18 September 1896

Hippolyte Fizeau was a pioneer in astrophotography and is best known for his work on the velocity of light. The eldest son of Louis Fizeau, a pathologist at the Paris Medical School, and Béatrice Fizeau, he entered his father’s school in about 1840, but dreadful migraines caused him to abandon medicine for physics. In 1853, Fizeau married Thérèse Valentine de Jussieu (daughter of the botanist Adrien de Jussieu), with whom he had four children.

Fizeau’s optical work had an impact on astronomy. While still a medical student in Paris, he improved daguerreotype contrast, sensitivity, and stability, and encouraged by  François Arago in 1844/1845, he collaborated with  Léon Foucaultto take the first successful daguerreotypes of the Sun, which showed clear limb darkening, indicating that the solar luminous layers were gaseous. In 1848, Fizeau announced how in sound the speeds of source and observer with...

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Selected References

  1. Cornu, A. (1898). “Notice sur l’œuvre scientifique de H. Fizeau.” Annuaire pour lan 1898 publié par le Bureau des longitudes, C1–C40. Paris: Gauthier-Villars.Google Scholar
  2. Lequeux, James (2014). Hippolyte Fizeau, physicien de la lumière. Les Ulis, EDP-Sciences.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand