On Monday, Google celebrated the 218th birth anniversary of renowned Belgian physicist Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau, whose research on visual perception inspired him to invent a device he called the phénakistiscope, which led to the birth of cinema by creating the illusion of a moving image. Plateau was born on 14 October 1801 in the city of Brussels in Belgium.
Inspired by the mesmerising animated discs, the animated Doodle art was made to reflect Plateau’s style, with different imagery and themes in them on different device platforms. Born in Brussels on this day in 1801, Plateau was the son of an accomplished artist who specialized in painting flowers. After studying law, young Plateau became one of the best-known Belgian scientists of the nineteenth century, remembered for his study of physiological optics, particularly the effect of light and colour on the human retina.
Plateau’s doctoral dissertation detailed how images form on the retina, noting their exact duration, colour, and intensity. Based on these conclusions, he was able to create a stroboscopic device in 1832, fitted with two discs that rotated in opposite directions. One disc was filled with small windows, evenly spaced in a circle, while the other had a series of pictures of a dancer. When both discs turned at exactly the right speed, the images seemed to merge, creating the illusion of a dancer in motion. Though Plateau lost his vision later in life, he continued to have a productive career in science even after becoming blind, working as a professor of experimental physics at Ghent University with the help of colleagues that included his son Felix Plateau and his son-in-law Gustaaf Van der Mensbrugghe.
The Royal Society is a Fellowship of the world's most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.
(With Agency inputs)