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 Charles Édouard Guillaume

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Charles Édouard Guillaume Famous memorial

Birth
Fleurier, District du Val-de-Travers, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Death
13 Jun 1938 (aged 77)
Sèvres, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France, France
Burial
Fleurier, District du Val-de-Travers, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Memorial ID
218999463 View Source

Nobel Prize Recipient. Charles Edouard Guillaume received international notoriety after being awarded the 1920 Nobel Prize in Physics. According to the Nobel Prize committee, he was given the coveted award "in recognition of the service he has rendered to precision measurements in Physics by his discovery of anomalies in nickel steel alloys." Knowing in science a perfect measurement is required, he succeeded in 1896 in a chance finding of an alloy of nickel and steel that registered almost no change in length and volume as a result of temperature changes. The invar nickel-steel alloy had a significant effect on scientific instruments and incandescent light bulbs. Guillaume became the first and only scientist in history to be recognized by the Nobel Committee for a metallurgical achievement. With little activity during World War I, he received eleven nominations for the Nobel Prize since 1902. At the Nobel Prize ceremony, he gave a humble acceptance speech in his native French language. Born in Switzerland, his grandfather left France during the French Revolution to start a watchmaking business in London, England. Three of his uncles stayed in England with their watchmaking business, but his father, Edward, decided to settle in Fleurier, Switzerland, starting his watchmaking business. He attended local schools before starting classes at the Zurich Polytechnic Institute, obtaining his physics doctorate degree in 1883. Finishing his military service as an officer in the artillery, he accepted a position as an assistant at the International in Bureau of Weights and Measures, which is located in Sevres, France, outside Paris. He became Associate Director in 1902. In 1915 until his retirement, he was the Director of the Bureau, and after retirement until his death, he was Honorary Director. Working at the Paris Observatory, he conducted experiments. Besides his interest in weights and measurements, he was one of the first in history to estimate the temperatures of space or the radiation of stars. In 1896, he published his first paper “Temperature of Space,” which was a pioneer step in plasma cosmology or Cosmic Microwave Background. He published over a dozen scientific papers on varying subjects but mainly measurements. His textbook, “Introduction to Mechanics”, was translated into several languages. In 1919, he gave the fifth Guthrie Lecture at the Institute of Physics in London with the title "The Anomaly of the Nickel-Steels". Besides the Nobel Prize, he was awarded the John Scott Medal in 1914 from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the Duddell Medal and Prize in 1928 from Great Britain. He was appointed Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour; received honorary Doctor of Science degrees from the Universities of Geneva, Neuchatel, and Paris; and a member of several European learned societies. In 1888, Guillaume married Emilie Marie Ann Taufflieb from Germany and the couple had three children. Fifty years after his chance finding, new technological devices such as circuit breakers, motor controls, TV temperature compensating springs, appliance and heater thermostats, automotive controls, heating, and air condition, are using his discovery. Upon his request, his remains were returned to his hometown for burial, and the Memorial Charles-Edouard Guillaume Foundation maintains his and his family’s grave site.

Nobel Prize Recipient. Charles Edouard Guillaume received international notoriety after being awarded the 1920 Nobel Prize in Physics. According to the Nobel Prize committee, he was given the coveted award "in recognition of the service he has rendered to precision measurements in Physics by his discovery of anomalies in nickel steel alloys." Knowing in science a perfect measurement is required, he succeeded in 1896 in a chance finding of an alloy of nickel and steel that registered almost no change in length and volume as a result of temperature changes. The invar nickel-steel alloy had a significant effect on scientific instruments and incandescent light bulbs. Guillaume became the first and only scientist in history to be recognized by the Nobel Committee for a metallurgical achievement. With little activity during World War I, he received eleven nominations for the Nobel Prize since 1902. At the Nobel Prize ceremony, he gave a humble acceptance speech in his native French language. Born in Switzerland, his grandfather left France during the French Revolution to start a watchmaking business in London, England. Three of his uncles stayed in England with their watchmaking business, but his father, Edward, decided to settle in Fleurier, Switzerland, starting his watchmaking business. He attended local schools before starting classes at the Zurich Polytechnic Institute, obtaining his physics doctorate degree in 1883. Finishing his military service as an officer in the artillery, he accepted a position as an assistant at the International in Bureau of Weights and Measures, which is located in Sevres, France, outside Paris. He became Associate Director in 1902. In 1915 until his retirement, he was the Director of the Bureau, and after retirement until his death, he was Honorary Director. Working at the Paris Observatory, he conducted experiments. Besides his interest in weights and measurements, he was one of the first in history to estimate the temperatures of space or the radiation of stars. In 1896, he published his first paper “Temperature of Space,” which was a pioneer step in plasma cosmology or Cosmic Microwave Background. He published over a dozen scientific papers on varying subjects but mainly measurements. His textbook, “Introduction to Mechanics”, was translated into several languages. In 1919, he gave the fifth Guthrie Lecture at the Institute of Physics in London with the title "The Anomaly of the Nickel-Steels". Besides the Nobel Prize, he was awarded the John Scott Medal in 1914 from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the Duddell Medal and Prize in 1928 from Great Britain. He was appointed Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour; received honorary Doctor of Science degrees from the Universities of Geneva, Neuchatel, and Paris; and a member of several European learned societies. In 1888, Guillaume married Emilie Marie Ann Taufflieb from Germany and the couple had three children. Fifty years after his chance finding, new technological devices such as circuit breakers, motor controls, TV temperature compensating springs, appliance and heater thermostats, automotive controls, heating, and air condition, are using his discovery. Upon his request, his remains were returned to his hometown for burial, and the Memorial Charles-Edouard Guillaume Foundation maintains his and his family’s grave site.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Linda Davis
  • Added: 25 Nov 2020
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 218999463
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/218999463/charles-%C3%A9douard-guillaume: accessed ), memorial page for Charles Édouard Guillaume (15 Feb 1861–13 Jun 1938), Find a Grave Memorial ID 218999463, citing Cimetière de Fleurier, Fleurier, District du Val-de-Travers, Neuchâtel, Switzerland; Maintained by Find a Grave .