Augustin-Jean Fresnel Biography
Birthday: May 10, 1788 (Taurus)
Born In: Broglie (Eure)
Augustin-Jean Fresnel was a French physicist best remembered for his invention of compound lenses that transform the radiance of lighthouses and help save many ships from crashing into the rocks at sea. He developed formulas to elucidate refraction, double refraction, reflection and polarized light and also proved that light was a collection of transverse waves. The son of an architect, he grew up to be a brilliant student and received his education from École Polytechnique and École des Ponts et Chaussées. He embarked on a career as an engineer and began his research in optics. He researched on the diffraction of light and proposed the aether drag hypothesis in addition to many other discoveries and deductions. Building on the work of English physicist Thomas Young, he helped to establish the wave theory of light. But sadly, like most thinkers ahead of their time, Fresnel’s genius and extraordinary work in the field of optical science did not receive much recognition during his lifetime. Fresnel remained undeterred by this lack of appreciation and at all times remained focused on his research and work. Many of his theses and works were printed by the Académie des Sciences after several years of his passing.