Etienne-Jules Marey

Etienne-Jules Marey

French physiologist, inventor and photographer
Date of Birth: 05.03.1830
Country: France

  1. Biography of Étienne-Jules Marey
  2. Career and Achievements
  3. Legacy and Death

Biography of Étienne-Jules Marey

Étienne-Jules Marey was a French physiologist, inventor, and photographer. He was born on March 5, 1830, in Bone, France. Marey studied medicine in Paris, where he obtained his medical degree in 1857.

Career and Achievements

In 1868, Marey became the head of the Chair of Natural History at the Collège de France. He was a member of the Academy of Medicine and the French Academy of Sciences, serving as its president from 1895. Marey was also the president of the French Photographic Society for many years.

Marey was known for his experimental research in the physiology of blood circulation and human and animal locomotion. He developed a graphical method for recording physiological functions by constructing specialized devices that automatically recorded the movements of animals and their organs. These devices included the pneumographic capsule ("Marey's drum"), the sphygmograph, and an original cardiograph, as well as a chronograph, among others. These inventions allowed for a deeper understanding of the circulatory system and refined the characteristics of organism locomotion.

Marey was the first to apply photography to the recording of motion. His chronophotographs, series of images captured on individual photographic plates and films that were automatically pulled through his own-designed camera, gained widespread recognition. In the early 1880s, Marey published photographs of birds in flight taken with a prototype motion picture camera he had constructed, which included a sighting mechanism and a chronometer. This device allowed him to capture 12 frames with an exposure duration of 1/72 of a second each. Marey's observations of changes in wing shape in birds based on flight speed and air resistance played a crucial role in the study of flight mechanics. These studies sparked his interest in aerodynamics, leading him to build an aerodynamic wind tunnel in the 1890s and take the first photographs illustrating the phenomenon of turbulence.

Legacy and Death

Étienne-Jules Marey passed away on May 15, 1904, in Paris. His innovative inventions in the fields of physiology and photography laid the foundation for further advancements in these areas. Marey's pioneering work in the visualization of movement and his contributions to the study of flight mechanics and aerodynamics remain influential in the fields of science and photography.