AKA Marie-Alfred Cornu
Birthplace: Orleans, France
Location of death: Paris, France
Cause of death: unspecified
Race or Ethnicity: White
Executive summary: Optics and spectroscopy
French physicist, born at Orleans on the 6th of March 1841, and after being educated at the École Polytechnique and the École des Mines, became in 1867 professor of experimental physics in the former institution, where he remained throughout his life. Although he made various excursions into other branches of physical science, undertaking, for example, with J.B.A. Baille about 1870 a repetition of Henry Cavendish's experiment for determining the mean density of the earth, his original work was mainly concerned with optics and spectroscopy. In particular he carried out a classical redetermination of the velocity of light by A.H.L. Fizeau's method, introducing various improvements in the apparatus, which added greatly to the accuracy of the results. This achievement won for him, in 1878, the prix Lacaze and membership of the Academy of Sciences in France, and the Rumford medal of the Royal Society in England. In 1899, at the jubilee commemoration of George Gabriel Stokes, he was Rede lecturer at Cambridge, his subject being the undulatory theory of light and its influence on modern physics; and on that occasion the honorary degree of D.Sc. was conferred on him by the university. He died at Paris on the 11th of April 1902.
University: École Polytechnique, Paris
University: École des Mines, Paris
Professor: Experimental Physics, École des Mines (1867-)
Rumford Medal 1878
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