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date: 22 October 2020

Savart, Félixlocked

  • James F. Bell,
  • R.W.B. Stephens
  •  and Murray Campbell


(b Mézières, June 30, 1791; d Paris, March 16, 1841). French scientist. He was trained at Strasbourg in medicine, taking a degree in 1816. He had long been interested in acoustics when, in 1816, he abandoned medicine and went to Paris, where he came under the guidance of Biot. He became a professor of natural philosophy in 1820 and was elected to the Académie in 1827, also obtaining an appointment at the Collège de France. He is known mainly for the Biot–Savart Law of Electrodynamics. His chief interest, indicated by the titles of his 27 papers (mostly published in the Annales de chimie et de physique), was in the study of vibrating bodies. These included important and often ingenious measurements of air, cords, bars, membranes, plates, solids of revolution and, particularly, vocal cords. He proposed theories of the vocal sounds of men and animals. His repetition and extension of Chladni’s experiments with sand figures on vibrating plates and longitudinal bars led in the early 19th century to controversy over the velocity of sound in solids. In ...

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