Nobel Prize in Physics Recipient. Gabriela Lippmann is best remembered for receiving the 1908 Nobel Prize in Physics, according to the Nobel Committee, "for his method of reproducing colours photographically based on the phenomenon of interference." Born to French parents in Luxembourg, his early education was at home, being a good student in the subjects that his liked and not in the ones he disliked. He failed the examination to become a school teacher. He graduated with a degree in physics from the "Ecole Normal" in Paris, after some years of research in Germany. He became a professor at Faculty of Science in Paris in 1878, appointed Professor of Mathematical Physics in 1883, became Professor of Experimental Physics in 1886 and was appointed Director of the Research Laboratory, which was subsequently transferred to the Sorbonne. He held this position until his death. Lippmann studied the problems related to the polarization of the batteries and the determination of the "ohms", and foresaw the reversibility of the phenomenon of piezoelectricity of quartz, known as "Lippmann effect". He was able to produce a photographic color image, using the wave interference with their own reflection in a mirror placed behind the mercury sensitive emulsion. On February 2, 1891 he communicated his discovery to the Academy of Sciences and in 1908 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. By 1906, Lippmann had presented his process along with color images of a parrot, a bowl of oranges, a group of flags, and a stained glass window. His recognition in the scientific community was soon realized and with 23 nominations over seven years, he received the Nobel Prize. His method was not a good commercial success since a two-to-three-hour exposure was required to get the colored photograph. Eventually, his pioneer method in color photography was superseded in 1895 by the technique used by the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière. However, half a century later his discovery was the basis for the invention of holograms. He became a professor of Mathematical Physics in 1883. Besides the Nobel Prize, he became a member of the Academy of Sciences in 1886 and served as its President in 1912. He was a member of the Board of the Bureau des Longitudes and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London. In addition to his work in color photography, Lippmann also fabricated numerous instruments, including the capillary-electrometer and the coelostat. In 1888 he married the daughter of noted author Victor Cherbuliez; he and his wife, Laurence, had no children. Lippmann died at sea on board the liner "France" returning from a mission in Canada.
Bio by: Linda Davis