Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum
Edme Mariotte
ca. 1620-1684

Mariotte may be regarded as one of the fathers of experimental physics in France. He was a founding member of the Académie Royale des Sciences of Paris. Most of his work focused on mechanics and the elastic properties of gases. Formulated the law on the compressibility of gases discovered independently by Robert Boyle (1627-1691). Also conducted major experiments on air resistance, barometry, hydrodynamics, and the freezing of water. Studying the eye, he discovered in 1668 the existence of the "blind spot," i.e., the point insensitive to light where the central optic nerve connects to the retina (a person viewing an object with one eye has a cone of blindness, thus called "blind spot").