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Cornu, Marie Alfred

Born Châteauneux near Orléans, Loiret, France, 6 March 1841

Died La Chansonnerie near Romorantin, Loir‐et‐Cher, France, 12 April 1902

French physicist Alfred Cornu is remembered for his precise determination of the speed of light, and for work in physical optics (especially on diffraction theory and ultraviolet spectroscopy). He was the son of François Cornu and Sophie Poinsellier.

Cornu attended the École Polytechnique in Paris between 1860 and 1862, finishing second in his class. Upon graduating, he obtained his mathematics Licence and his physics Licence the following year. Cornu was appointed répétiteur (demonstrator) at the École Polytechnique in 1864. He also attended the École des Mines (1862-1865), becoming an engineer of mines in 1866. Cornu then obtained his doctorate in the physical sciences in 1867 with a thesis on crystalline reflection and was subsequently appointed professor of