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Gabriel Lippmann

Born 16 August 1845(1845-08-16)
Bonnevoie, Luxembourg
Died 13 July 1921 (aged 75)
SS France, Atlantic Ocean
Nationality France
Fields Physics
Institutions Sorbonne
Alma mater École Normale
Known for Colour photography
Lippmann plate
Lippmann electrometer
Notable awards Nobel Prize for Physics (1908)

Jonas Ferdinand Gabriel Lippmann[1] (16 August 1845 – 13 July, 1921) was a Franco-Luxembourgish physicist and inventor, and Nobel laureate in physics for his method of reproducing colours photographically based on the phenomenon of interference, later known as the Lippmann plate.



Lippmann was born to Franco-Jewish parents in Bonnevoie (former commune of Hollerich),[2] Luxembourg. When Gabriel was three, his family moved back to France, to live in Paris, where he was homeschooled.[3]

He is remembered for the innovations that resulted from his search for a direct color-sensitive medium in photography. He was one of the founders of the Institut d'optique théorique et appliquée in France. He also invented an electrometer that was used in the first ECG machine.

Lippmann was a member of the Academy of Sciences from 8 February 1886 until his death, including serving as its President in 1912.[4] In addition, he was a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London, a member of the Bureau des Longitudes,[3] and a member of the Grand Ducal Institute.

Lippmann married the daughter of novelist Victor Cherbuliez in 1888.[3] He died on 13 July 1921 aboard the steamer France while en route from Canada.[5]

Early colour photograph of flowers by Lippmann



  1. ^ Birth certificate, cf. R. Grégorius (1984): Gabriel Lippmann. Notice biographique. In: Inauguration d'une plaque à la mémoire de Gabriel Lippmann par le Centre culturel et d'éducation populaire de Bonnevoie et la Section des sciences de l'Institut grand-ducal. Bonnevoie, le 13 avril 1984: 8-20.
  2. ^ Cf. p. 82: J.A. Massard (1997): Gabriel Lippmann et le Luxembourg. In J.P. Pier & J.A. Massard (éds): Gabriel Lippmann: Commémoration par la section des sciences naturelles, physiques et mathématiques de l’Institut grand-ducal de Luxembourg du 150e anniversaire du savant né au Luxembourg, lauréat du prix Nobel en 1908. Luxembourg, Section des sciences naturelles, physiques et mathématiques de l’Institut grand-ducal de Luxembourg en collaboration avec le Séminaire de mathématique et le Séminaire d’histoire des sciences et de la médecine du centre universitaire de Luxembourg: 81-111.
  3. ^ a b c "Gabriel Lippmann". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2007-02-12. 
  4. ^ "Les Membres de l'AcadĂ©mie des sciences depuis sa crĂ©ation (en 1666)" (in French). AcadĂ©mie des sciences. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  5. ^ Gabriel Lippman, Scientist, Dies at Sea. The New York Times,14 July 1921.

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