Today, Google has honored Belgian physicist Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau with a special doodle to celebrate his 218th birth anniversary.
He invented the phenakistiscope, a spinning device that he invented in 1833, which led to the onset of cinema because it created the illusion of moving images. His invention has been considered one of the “precursors to modern cinema.”
Born in 1801 in Brussels, Plateau was an artist who specialized in painting flowers. He studied law, but later, he became the most-popular Belgian physicist of the nineteenth century.
In 1829, he was graduated as a doctor of physical and mathematical sciences at the University of Liège.
He is famous for his groundbreaking discovery on biological optics and studying the effects of light and color on the human retina. His invention explained how images are formed in the retina and how their color and intensity lasted long.
In 1832, Plateau created a stroboscopic device with two discs in opposite directions based on his study. One disc was filled with tiny windows that were spaced evenly in a circle, while the other disc with a series of pictures of a dancer. The discs were moved at the right speed to merge the images, creating an illusion of a dancer in motion. Google has revealed that Plateau lost his vision later in life. However, he continued to teach experimental physics at Ghent University along with his son and son-in-law.