Fizeau, Armand Hippolyte Louis

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b. 23 September 1819 Paris, France
d. 18 September 1896 Nanteuil-le-Haudouin, France
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French physicist who introduced early improvements to the daguerreotype process.
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Fizeau's interest in photography was comparatively brief, but during this period he was at the forefront of French attempts to explore and exploit the potential of the recently announced daguerreotype process (see Daguerre). Fizeau is best remembered for his introduction in August 1840 of the practice of gold-toning daguerreotypes. This improvement not only helped protect the delicate surface of the plate from abrasion and tarnishing, but also enhanced the quality of the image. The technique was not patented and was immediately adopted by all daguerreotypists. Between 1839 and 1841, in association with Alfred Donné, Fizeau conducted experiments with the aim of converting daguerreotypes into printing plates. Prints from two of his plates were published in 1842, but the technique was never widely practised. In association with J.B.Léon Foucault, Fizeau discovered the reciprocity failure of daguerreotypes, and the same partnership produced what were probably the first daguerreotypes of the sun. Fizeau is best known in physics for making the first accurate determination of the speed of light, in 1849.
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Further Reading
W.H.Thornthwaite, 1843, Photographic Manipulation, London (provides details of Fizeau's gold-toning process).
H.Gernsheim and A.Gernsheim, 1969, The History of Photography, rev. edn, London (a more general account of Fizeau's contributions to photography).
JW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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