# Famous Physicists 1500-1800

William Gilbert | 1544-1603 English |
hypothesized that the Earth is a giant magnet |

Galileo Galilei | 1564-1642 Italian |
performed fundamental observations, experiments, and mathematical analyses in astronomy and physics; discovered mountains and craters on the moon, the phases of Venus, and the four largest satellites of Jupiter: Io, Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede |

Willebrod Snell | 1580-1626 Dutch |
discovered law of refraction (Snell’s law) |

Blaise Pascal | 1623-1662 French |
discovered that pressure applied to an enclosed fluid is transmitted undiminished to every part of the fluid and to the walls of its container (Pascal’s principle) |

Christiaan Huygens | 1629-1695 Dutch |
proposed a simple geometrical wave theory of light, now known as “Huygen’s principle”; pioneered use of the pendulum in clocks |

Robert Hooke | 1635-1703 English |
discovered Hooke’s law of elasticity |

Sir Isaac Newton | 1643-1727 English |
developed theories of gravitation and mechanics, and invented differential calculus |

Daniel Bernoulli | 1700-1782 Swiss |
developed the fundamental relationship of fluid flow now known as Bernoulli’s principle |

Benjamin Franklin | 1706-1790 American |
the first American physicist; characterized two kinds of electric charge, which he named “positive” and “negative” |

Leonard Euler | 1707-1783 Swiss |
made fundamental contributions to fluid dynamics, lunar orbit theory (tides), and mechanics; also contributed prolifically to all areas of classical mathematics |

Henry Cavendish | 1731-1810 British |
discovered and studied hydrogen; first to measure Newton’s gravitational constant; calculated mass and mean density of Earth |

Charles Augustin de Coulomb | 1736-1806 French |
experiments on elasticity, electricity, and magnetism; established experimentally nature of the force between two charges |

Joseph-Louis Lagrange | 1736-1813 French |
developed new methods of analytical mechanics |

James Watt | 1736-1819 Scottish |
invented the modern condensing steam engine and a centrifugal governor |

Count Alessandro Volta | 1745-1827 Italian |
pioneer in study of electricity; invented the first electric battery |

Joseph Fourier | 1768-1830 French |
established the differential equation governing heat diffusion and solved it by devising an infinite series of sines and cosines capable of approximating a wide variety of functions |

Thomas Young | 1773-1829 British |
studied light and color; known for his double-slit experiment that demonstrated the wave nature of light |

Jean-Babtiste Biot | 1774-1862 French |
studied polarization of light; co-discovered that intensity of magnetic field set up by a current flowing through a wire varies inversely with the distance from the wire |

André Marie Ampère | 1775-1836 French |
father of electrodynamics |

Amadeo Avogadro | 1776-1856 Italian |
developed hypothesis that all gases at same volume, pressure, and temperature contain same number of atoms |

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss | 1777-1855 German |
formulated separate electrostatic and electrodynamical laws, including “Gauss’ law”; contributed to development of number theory, differential geometry, potential theory, theory of terrestrial magnetism, and methods of calculating planetary orbits |

Hans Christian Oersted | 1777-1851 Danish |
discovered that a current in a wire can produce magnetic effects |

Sir David Brewster | 1781-1868 English |
deduced “Brewster’s law” giving the angle of incidence that produces reflected light which is completely polarized; invented the kaleidoscope and the stereoscope, and improved the spectroscope |

Augustin-Jean Fresnel | 1788-1827 French |
studied transverse nature of light waves |

Georg Ohm | 1789-1854 German |
discovered that current flow is proportional to potential difference and inversely proportional to resistance (Ohm’s law) |

Michael Faraday | 1791-1867 English |
discovered electromagnetic induction and devised first electrical transformer |

Felix Savart | 1791-1841 French |
co-discovered that intensity of magnetic field set up by a current flowing through a wire varies inversely with the distance from the wire |

Sadi Carnot | 1796-1832 French |
founded the science of thermodynamics |

Joseph Henry | 1797-1878 American |
performed extensive fundamental studies of electromagnetic phenomena; devised first practical electric motor |