Google on Monday honoured Belgian physicist Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau on his 218th birth anniversary with a doodle. Joseph Plateau in 1832 invented a device called 'Phenakistiscope', which paved the way for future motion pictures and film industries.
The Google Doodle depicts Plateau's 'Phenakistiscope' device -- a moving image illusion, inspired by mesmerising animated discs -- to reflect Plateau's style, with different imagery and themes.
Physicist Joseph Plateau's research on visual perception inspired him to invent the device depicted on the Google Doodle. The Phenakistiscope created fluid illusion of motion. Like a GIF, Phenakistiscope could only show show a short continuous loop.
Born in Brussels on this day in 1801, Plateau was one of the best-known Belgian scientists of the nineteenth century, remembered for his study of physiological optics, particularly the effect of light and color on the human retina.
Plateau's doctoral dissertation detailed how images form on the retina, noting their exact duration, color, and intensity. According to Google blog post, based on these conclusions, Plateau was able to create a stroboscopic device in 1832, fitted with two discs that rotated in opposite directions. One disc was filled with small windows, evenly spaced in a circle, while the other had a series of pictures of a dancer. When both discs turned at exactly the right speed, the images seemed to merge, creating the illusion of a dancer in motion.
Though Plateau lost his vision later in life, he continued to have a productive career in science, working as a professor of experimental physics at Ghent University.