Jean Baptiste Biot 1774-1862

 A French physicist, best known for his work in the polarization of light, Jean Baptiste Biot was born in Paris, France, on April 21, 1774. He became a professor of physics in 1800 at the College de France through the influence of Laplace, from whom he had sought and obtained the favor of reading the proof sheets of the Mecanique Celeste.

 Although younger, Biot worked on the analysis of heat conduction even earlier than Fourier did (1802 or 1803) and attempted, unsuccessfully, to deal with the problem of incorporating external convection effects in heat conduction analysis. Fourier read Biot's work and by 1807 had determined for himself how to solve the elusive problem.

 In 1804, Biot accompanied Gay Lussac on the first balloon ascent undertaken for scientific purposes. In 1820, with Felix Savart, he discovered the law known as "Biot and Savart's Law." He was especially interested in questions relating to the polarization of light and for his achievements in this field he was awarded the Rumford Medal of the Royal Society in 1840. He died February 3, 1862 in Paris.

Grigull, Sandner, Straud, Winkler. Origins of Dimensionless Groups of Heat and Mass Transfer. Lehrstuhl a Fuer Thermodynamik Technische Universitaet Muenchen. IHTC, Muenchen 1982.

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