Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau, the Belgian physicist that gifted us the cinema, would have celebrated his 218th birth anniversary today. Google celebrates his birth and his invention today by dedicating its Google Doodle to him.
The Google Doodle dedicated to Plateau is inspired by his work. The doodle has animated discs reflecting Plateau's style with different images and themes on various device platforms. The doodle’s creator, animator, filmmaker and Doodler Olivia Huynh has created the first-ever Google Doodle to have different imagery and themes on different device platforms such as desktop, mobile, and the Google App.
Plateau was born more than two centuries ago, in Brussels in the year 1801. Plateau had a range of interests during his lifetime, his curiosity peaked at the mention of math, science, and art.
Plateau graduated as a doctor of physical and mathematical sciences from the University of Liège, and in 1829. He even taught mathematics at the Atheneum school in Brussels. His study on the effect of colours on the retina, how moving images get distorted and their reconstruction using revolving discs, is what paved the way for his ground-breaking invention, the Phenakistoscope.
The Phenakistoscope had two discs with viewing slits, when placed together and turned in the opposite direction of each other, the device, became the first-ever to create an illusion of a moving image. His invention of the Phenakistoscope later led the invention of cinema. In 1835, he was appointed Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Ghent University.
Sadly, according to Google, Plateau lost his vision later in life, but it did not stop him from his research and science. He continued to work as a professor of experimental physics at Ghent University with the help of his son and son-in-law, who were also his colleagues.