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Étienne Louis Malus

Étienne Louis MalusBorn: 23-Jun-1775
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: 23-Feb-1812
Location of death: Paris, France
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: France
Executive summary: Polarization of light by reflection

French physicist, was born at Paris on the 23rd of June 1775. He entered the military engineering school at Mezières; but, being regarded as a suspected person, he was dismissed without receiving a commission, and obliged to enter the army as a private soldier. Being employed upon the fortifications of Dunkirk, he attracted the notice of the director of the works, and was selected as a member of the École polytechnique then to be established under G. Monge. After three years at the École he was admitted into the corps of engineers, and served in the army of the Sambre and Meuse; he was present at the passage of the Rhine in 1797, and at the affairs of Ukratz and Altenkirch. In 1798 he joined the Egyptian expedition and remained in the East until 1801. On his return he held official posts successively at Antwerp, Strasbourg and Paris, and devoted himself to optical research. A paper published in 1809, "Sur une propriété de la lumière réfléchie par les corps diaphanes", contained the discovery of the polarization of light by reflection, which is specially associated with his name, and in the following year he won a prize from the Institute with his memoir, "Théorie de la double refraction de la lumière dans les substances cristallines." He died of phthisis in Paris on the 23rd of February 1812.

    Rumford Medal 1810



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