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BIOT, Jean-Baptiste (1774-1862). "Mmoire sur un nouveau genre d'oscillation que les molcules de la lumire prouvent en traversant certains cristaux." In Mmoires de la classe des sciences mathmatiques et physiques de l'Institut imprial de France (1812), Part I. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1814.

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BIOT, Jean-Baptiste (1774-1862). "Mmoire sur un nouveau genre d'oscillation que les molcules de la lumire prouvent en traversant certains cristaux." In Mmoires de la classe des sciences mathmatiques et physiques de l'Institut imprial de France (1812), Part I. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1814.

4o (269 x 210 mm). Half-title, 2 fold-out engraved plates. (Minor finger-soiling to first few leaves.) Contemporary pink pastepaper boards, untrimmed (spine defective, soiled).

FIRST EDITION. In 1808, tienne-Louis Malus had discovered the polarization of light by reflection, a crucial discovery in the history of optics, since it showed that a phenomenon previously observed only in a few crystals was a general property of light. "Malus's discovery opened up an entirely new field of research, and no one was stimulated more than his two associates in the Arcueil group, Arago and Biot. In August 1811, Arago announced that he had found that white light polarized by reflection could, on passing through certain crystals, be split into two differently colored beams. Biot repeated Arago's experiments and established the relationships between the thicknesses of the crystal plates and the colors produced." Biot's interpretation of his results, set forth in the present mmoire, read to the Institut on 30 November 1812, "was in terms of a repulsive force that caused polarization by acting on the particles of light" (DSB). His conceptions presupposed the corpuscular theory of light, embraced by the Laplacians and corroborated in their view by the discovery of polarization. Although his conclusions were later shown to be incorrect, Biot's research constituted an important step in the history of both crystallography and electromagnetic theory.
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