Born: c. 1620
Birthplace: Dijon, France
Location of death: Paris, France
Cause of death: unspecified
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Executive summary: Discovered eye's blind spot
French physicist, spent most of his life at Dijon, where he was prior of St. Martin sous Beaune. He was one of the first members of the Academy of Sciences founded at Paris in 1666. He died at Paris on the 12th of May 1684. The first volume of the Histoire et mémoires de l'Académie (1733) contains many original papers by him upon a great variety of physical subjects, such as the motion of fluids, the nature of color, the notes of the trumpet, the barometer, the fall of bodies, the recoil of guns, the freezing of water, etc.
His Essais de physique, four in number, of which the first three were published at Paris between 1676 and 1679, are his most important works, and form, together with a Traité de la percussion des corps, the first volume of the Oeuvres de Mariotte (2 vols., Leiden, 1717). The second of these essays (De La nature de l'air) contains the statement of the law that the volume of a gas varies inversely as the pressure, which, though very generally called by the name of Mariotte, had been discovered in 1660 by Robert Boyle. The fourth essay is a systematic treatment of the nature of color, with a description of many curious experiments and a discussion of the rainbow, halos, parhelia, diffraction, and the more purely physiological phenomena of color. The discovery of the blind spot is noted in a short paper in the second volume of his collected works.
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