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Charles Édouard Guillaume

Charles Édouard GuillaumeBorn: 15-Feb-1861
Birthplace: Fleurier, Switzerland
Died: 13-Jun-1938
Location of death: Sèvres, France
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: Switzerland
Executive summary: Invented alloys Invar and Elinvar

Military service: Swiss Army

Swiss physicist and metrologist Charles Édouard Guillaume spent his career at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, where he worked on setting scientifically precise standards for the metric system of measurement. To establish exact international standards it was necessary to send meter-length bars to agencies in every civilized nation, but due to the expansion and contraction of metals in heat or cold, the same meter-bars would be of different lengths in warmer nations than in cooler nations. In studying the way numerous metals expand and contract, Guillaume developed a new nickel-steel alloy in 1896, which was named invar for its invariability under extremes of heat or cold — its coefficient of expansion is 15 times lower than that of steel. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1920.

In 1922 he developed a second valuable alloy, called elinvar (for elasticity invariable), with even less thermoelasticity, and less affected by magnetism and oxidation. Invar and elinvar are still used in the design of watches, precision scientific instruments, and devices subject to great heat or cold, including toasters and freezers. Guillaume also studied the physics and chemistry of mercury thermometers, and corrected the precise measurement of the volume of the liter. He frequently used a shortened version of his name, Ch-Ed Guillaume, in authoring his many papers and books.

Father: Édouard Guillaume (clockmaker)
Mother: Marianne Emilie Lebet.
Wife: Emilie Marie Anne Taufflieb (m. 1888, three children)

    High School: Neuchâtel Gymnasium, Neuchâtel, Switzerland (1878)
    University: DSc Physics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (1882)

    Nobel Prize for Physics 1920
    French Legion of Honor Grand Officer
    French Physical Society
    International Bureau of Weights and Measures Thermometry research (1883-1902)
    International Bureau of Weights and Measures Associate Director (1902-15)
    International Bureau of Weights and Measures Director (1915-36)
    Russian Academy of Sciences Foreign Member
    Lunar Crater Guillaume (45.4° N, 173.4° W, 57 km. diameter)
    French Ancestry
    Swiss Ancestry

Author of books:
Études Thermométriques (Studies on Thermometry) (1886, non-fiction)
Traité de Thermométrie (Treatise on Thermometry) (1889, non-fiction)
Unités et Étalons (Units and Standards) (1894, non-fiction)
Les Rayons X (X-Rays) (1896, non-fiction)
Recherches sur le Nickel et ses Alliages (Investigations on Nickel and its Alloys) (1898, non-fiction)
La Vie de la Matière (The Life of Matter) (1899, non-fiction)
La Convention du Mètre et le Bureau international des Poids et Mesures (Metrical Convention and the International Bureau of Weights and Measures) (1902, non-fiction)
Les Applications des Aciers au Nickel (Applications of Nickel-Steels) (1904, non-fiction)
Des États de la Matière (States of Matter) (1907, non-fiction)
Les Récent Progrès du Système Métrique (Recent progress in the Metric System) (1907, non-fiction)
Initiation à la Mécanique (Introduction to Mechanics) (1912, non-fiction)
La Crèation du Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (Creation of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures) (1927, non-fiction)

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