Jean-Baptiste Romé de l'Isle
Jean-Baptiste Romé de l'Isle was a French mineralogist who is best known as one of the founders of optical crystallography. He was born on August 26, 1736, in Gray, France and little is known about his early life. However, he was a member of the military and acted as an officer in the East Indies. Romé de l'Isle was captured by the English in 1761 and remained their prisoner for three years.
When Romé de l'Isle returned to France in 1764, he developed an interest in chemistry, followed by a passion for mineralogy. He catalogued several private collections and carried out a significant amount of research. Subsequent to years of careful measurements and crystal observations, he published Essal de Cristallographic in 1772. A second edition of the work, which is regarded as his major contribution, was published in three volumes as Cristallographie in 1783.
Within his works, Romé de l'Isle established that various shapes of crystals of the same natural or artificial substance are all closely related to each other. Measurements he took with a goniometer enabled him to determine that the angles between corresponding faces of a crystal are always the same, which is often described as the first law of crystallography. In addition, he demonstrated that these angles are a characteristic of mineral type, introduced the concept of truncation, and also enlarged the crystallographic vocabulary.
Romé de l'Isle died in Paris on March 7, 1790. However, through his remarkable efforts and those of other renowned eighteenth century researchers, crystallography was elevated from a minor field of interest into a prominent science.
BACK TO PIONEERS IN OPTICS
Questions or comments? Send us an email.
© 1995-2013 by
Michael W. Davidson
and The Florida State University.
All Rights Reserved. No images, graphics, software, scripts, or applets may be reproduced or used in any manner without permission from the copyright holders. Use of this website means you agree to all of the Legal Terms and Conditions set forth by the owners.
Last Modification Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:43 AM
Access Count Since March 12, 2003: 15265
Visit the websites of our partners in education: