Leon Foucault was a prominent nineteenth-century scientist who discovered Eddy currents. Leon, who was born in France, received most of his education from a private tutor at home. Due to his father’s untimely death, his family relocated to Nantes. He was a delicate child who lacked confidence due to his chronic condition. Leon was a sluggish learner, but he was skilled with machinery. On the persuasion of his mother, who recognized his sleight of hand, he began studying medicine but finally switched to physics due to a fear of blood. During his collaboration with his tutor Alfred Donne, he conducted photographic experiments. He invented a method for imaging microscopic specimens as well as a potent light source for illuminating the objects being photographed through the microscope. This erudite scholar made a number of groundbreaking discoveries throughout the years, including scientific proof that the earth’s rotation creates day and night. Leon discovered Eddy Currents, which are produced by a fluctuating magnetic field within a conductor while experimenting with electromagnetism. During his brief career as a scientist, Foucault achieved astounding discoveries and is considered one of the most brilliant scientific brains of his time. Learn more about his life and works by reading on.
Youth and Early Life
On September 18, 1819, in Paris, Leon Foucault was born to Jean Leon Fortune Foucault and his wife. His father was well-known in Parisian society for publishing a series of books detailing France’s rich past.
Due to their poor financial circumstances, Leon and his mother relocated to Nantes after his father’s death in 1829. During his early years, the boy was educated at home, and he eventually went on to study medicine.
In 1939, at the age of 20, he enrolled in a medical school in Paris but left halfway through because he could not tolerate the sight of blood. After quitting, he decided to pursue physics instead, as his passion for the sciences remained strong.
After leaving medical school in 1939, Foucault served as an assistant to his physics professor and scientific magazine editor, Alfred Donne.
Leon Foucault’s Career
He assisted Alfred Donne, the editor of the scientific journal Journal des Debates, for six years until Donne’s death in 1845, at which point he was appointed editor of the journal at the age of 25.
In 1850, after conducting numerous independent experiments, he successfully measured the speed of light, which was wrong by only 1%. Together with his friend Hippolyte Fizeau, he created the ‘Fizeau-Foucault device’ to measure velocity.
In 1851, he used a pendulum to demonstrate that the Earth revolved around the sun in one of his most renowned experiments. The pendulum used in this experiment became known as “Foucault’s Pendulum.”
In 1857, he began developing a method for determining whether or not mirrors are spherical. Two years later, he devised the ‘knife-edge test’ to determine whether or not the mirrors in a telescope had any faults.
In acknowledgment of his outstanding contributions to the field of physics, Leon was inducted into the Bureau des Longitudes in France in 1862 and the Royal Society in London, the United Kingdom two years later.
Leon’s Major Opera
In 1855, he discovered the phenomena that became known as “Eddy currents,” and his experiment demonstrated the magnetic force necessary to rotate a copper disc. This information has many practical applications and is often referred to as “Foucault’s Currents.”
Awards & Achievements
The Copley Medal, granted to the great scientist in 1855, remains the oldest prize in the world for scientific achievements. This honor was bestowed to him “for his numerous experiments in experimental physics.”
Personal History and Legacy
Leon ultimately succumbed to the symptoms of multiple sclerosis on 11 February 1868, at the relatively young age of 48. He was unmarried and without children.
The inscription of his name on the Eiffel Tower is one of the highest honors in France. Other than Foucault, only 71 other distinguished individuals have had their names engraved on the Eiffel Tower.
Estimated Net Worth
Leon is one of the wealthiest and most popular physicists in the world. According to our investigation, Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider, Leon Foucault has an estimated net worth of $1.5 million.