On Monday, Google with a Doodle celebrates Belgian Physicist Joseph Plateau, who is the inventor of the phenakistiscope, a device that contributes to the birth of cinema by creating an illusion of a moving image.
In its description, Google said that “inspired by the mesmerizing animated discs, the animated Doodle art was made to reflect Plateau’s style, with different imagery and themes in them on different device platforms.”
Joseph Plateau was born on October 14, 1801, in Brussels. He was the son of an artist who specialized in painting lively flowers. After studying law, he became one of the popular scientists of the 19th Century, recalled for his study of physiological optics, mainly the effect of color and light on the human retina.
Joseph Plateau’s doctoral thesis detailed how images form on the retina and noted their exact duration, intensity, and color. Based on these concepts, the Physicist was able to create a stroboscopic device in 1832, featured with two discs that rotated in opposite directions. One disc was filled with small windows (spaced in a circle), and the other had a number of photos of a dancer. Hence, when both discs turned at exactly the required speed, the images seemed to integrate, creates the illusion of a dancer in motion.
According to sources, though Joseph Plateau has lost his vision later in life, still he continued to have a productive career in science even after he became blind, worked as a professor of experimental physics at Ghent University, with the assistance of his colleagues that also included his son as well as son-in-law.