Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jacques Arsene d’ Arsonval

Jacques Arsene d’ Arsonval
French physician and physicist noted for his invention of the reflecting galvanometer and for contributions to electrotherapy.

He was born on 8th June 1851 in Borie, France and passed away on 31st December 1940.

After studies at colleges in Limoges and later in Paris, Arsonval became a doctor of medicine in 1877.

In 1882 the College de France established a laboratory of biophysics with Arsonval as Director and he was Professor from 1894.

His most outstanding scientific contributions were in the field of biological application of electricity. His interest in muscle currents led to a series of inventions to assist research, including the moving coil galvanometer.

In 1881 he made a significant improvement to the galvanometer by reversing the magnetic elements. It had been usual to suspend a compass needle in the center of a large, stationary coil, but Arsonval’s invention was to suspend a small, light coil between the poles of a powerful fixed magnet.

This simple arrangement was independent of the earth’s magnetic field and insensitive to vibration.

A great increase in sensitivity was achieve by attaching a mirror to the coil in order to reflect a spot of light.

For bacterial research purposes he designed the first constant temperature incubation controlled by electricity.

His experiment on the effects of high frequency, low voltage alternating currents on animals led to the first high frequency heat therapy unit being established in 1892, and later methods of physiotherapy becoming a professional discipline.
Jacques Arsene d’ Arsonval
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