Auguste Bravais

Physicist, Academic

1811 – 1863


Who was Auguste Bravais?

Auguste Bravais was a French physicist known for his work in crystallography, the conception of Bravais lattices, and the formulation of Bravais law. Bravais also studied magnetism, the northern lights, meteorology, geobotany, phyllotaxis, astronomy, and hydrography.

He studied at the Collège Stanislas in Paris before joining the École Polytechnique in 1829 and becoming a naval officer towards the end of his studies. He sailed on the Finistere in 1832 as well as the Loiret afterwards and took part in hydrographic work along the Algerian Coast. He participated in the Recherche expedition and helped the Lilloise in Spitsbergen and Lapland.

Bravais taught a course in applied mathematics for astronomy in the faculty of sciences in Lyon, starting in 1840. He succeeded Victor Le Chevalier in the Chair of Physics at the Ecole Polytechnique between 1845 and 1856, after which he was replaced by Hureau of Senarmont. He is best remembered for his 1848 discovery that there are 14 unique Bravais lattices in three dimensional crystalline systems, correcting the previous scheme conceived by Frankenheim three years before. Bravais published a memoir about crystallography in 1847. A co-founder of the Société météorologique de France, he joined the French Academy of Sciences in 1854. Bravais also worked on the theory of observational errors, a field in which he is especially known for his 1846 paper "Mathematical analysis on the probability of errors of a point".

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Aug 23, 1811
  • France
  • École Polytechnique
Mar 30, 1863
Le Chesnay

on July 23, 2013


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