Félix Savart

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Bust of Felix Savart in the Institut de France located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris Interior of Institut de France, Paris 6th 013.jpg
Bust of Félix Savart in the Institut de France located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris

Félix Savart ( /səˈvɑːr/ ; [1] French:  [savaʁ] ; 30 June 1791, Mézières 16 March 1841, Paris) was a physicist, mathematician who is primarily known for the Biot–Savart law of electromagnetism, which he discovered together with his colleague Jean-Baptiste Biot. His main interest was in acoustics and the study of vibrating bodies. [2] A particular interest in the violin led him to create an experimental trapezoidal model. He gave his name to the savart, a unit of measurement for musical intervals, and to Savart's wheel—a device he used while investigating the range of human hearing.

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Physicist scientist who does research in physics

A physicist is a scientist who specializes in the field of physics, which encompasses the interactions of matter and energy at all length and time scales in the physical universe. Physicists generally are interested in the root or ultimate causes of phenomena, and usually frame their understanding in mathematical terms. Physicists work across a wide range of research fields, spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic and particle physics, through biological physics, to cosmological length scales encompassing the universe as a whole. The field generally includes two types of physicists: experimental physicists who specialize in the observation of physical phenomena and the analysis of experiments, and theoretical physicists who specialize in mathematical modeling of physical systems to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena. Physicists can apply their knowledge towards solving practical problems or to developing new technologies.

Mathematician person with an extensive knowledge of mathematics

A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in his or her work, typically to solve mathematical problems.



He was the son of Gérard Savart, an engineer at the military school of Metz. His brother, Nicolas, who was a student at the École Polytechnique and an officer in the engineering corps, did work on vibration. At the military hospital at Metz, Savart studied medicine and later he went on to continue his studies at the University of Strasbourg, where he received his medical degree in 1816. [3] Savart became a professor at Collège de France in 1836 and was the co-originator of the Biot–Savart law, along with Jean-Baptiste Biot. Together, they worked on the theory of magnetism and electrical currents. Their law was developed and published in 1820. [4] The Biot–Savart law relates magnetic fields to the currents which are their sources.

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Collège de France Higher education and research establishment

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Savart also studied acoustics. He developed the Savart wheel which produces sound at specific graduated frequencies using rotating disks.

Acoustics science that deals with the study of all mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound

Acoustics is the branch of physics that deals with the study of all mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including topics such as vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound. A scientist who works in the field of acoustics is an acoustician while someone working in the field of acoustics technology may be called an acoustical engineer. The application of acoustics is present in almost all aspects of modern society with the most obvious being the audio and noise control industries.

Savart wheel

The Savart wheel is an acoustical device named after the French physicist Félix Savart (1791–1841), which was originally conceived and developed by the English scientist Robert Hooke (1635–1703).

Félix Savart is the namesake of a unit of measurement for musical intervals, the savart, though it was actually invented by Joseph Sauveur (Stigler's law of eponymy).

Joseph Sauveur was a French mathematician and physicist. He was a professor of mathematics and in 1696 became a member of the French Academy of Sciences.

Stigler's law of eponymy, proposed by University of Chicago statistics professor Stephen Stigler in his 1980 publication "Stigler’s law of eponymy", states that no scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer. Examples include Hubble's law which was derived by Georges Lemaître two years before Edwin Hubble, the Pythagorean theorem although it was known to Babylonian mathematicians before the Pythagoreans, and Halley's comet which was observed by astronomers since at least 240 BC. Stigler himself named the sociologist Robert K. Merton as the discoverer of "Stigler's law" to show that it follows its own decree, though the phenomenon had previously been noted by others.

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  1. "Biot-Savart law". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary .
  2. Bell, James F; Stevens, R W B; Campbell, Murray. "Savart, Félix". Grove Music Online . Oxford Music Online. Retrieved 23 February 2014.(subscription required)
  3. Dostrovsky, Sigalia (2008). "Savart, Félix". Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography . Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  4. A joint Biot-Savart paper "Note sur le magnétisme de la pile de Volta" was published in the Annales de chemie et de physique in 1820.

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