BornLusignan, (Vienne), France, 5 March 1794
DiedParis, France, 21 October 1872
Jacques Babinet’s major work was devoted to the diffraction of light. He used diffraction to measure wavelengths more accurately than before, and did theoretical work on general diffraction systems. He was the son of Jean Babinet, mayor of Lusignan, and Marie-Anne Félicité Bonneau du Chesne, daughter of a lieutenant general. He married Adelaide Laugier; they had two sons.
Babinet began his studies at the Lycée Napoléon, then at the École Polytechnique, where he later became an examiner. He left the École Polytechnique in 1812 to enter the Military School at Metz. For some time he was attached to the Fifth Regiment of Artillery, but at the Restoration he left the army and took up teaching. He was professor of mathematics at Fontenay-le-Comte, then professor of physics at Poitiers and, from 1820, at the Lycée Saint-Louis, Paris. From 1825 to 1828 Babinet delivered a course of lectures on meteorology. In 1838...