Edme Mariotte
Edme Mariotte was a French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

 and priest.


Edme Mariotte was the youngest son of Simon Mariotte, administrator at the district Til-Châtel (†16 Augustus 1652), and Catherine Denisot (†26 September 1636 due to plague). His parents lived in Til-Châtel
Til-Châtel is a commune of the Côte-d'Or department in eastern France.-Population:-References:*...

 and had 4 other children: Jean, Denise, Claude, and Catharine. Jean was administrator in the Parlement of Paris from 1630 till his death in 1682. Denise and Claude, both married, stayed in the Dijon region, where as Catharine married Blaise de Beaubrieul, advisor of king Louis de XIV. Catherine and Blaise lived in the same street, perhaps on the same address, where Jean lived. The early life of Edme Mariotte is unknown. His title "Sieur de Chazeuil" was probably inherited from his brother Jean in 1682. It refers to the estate of his father, which was first given to Jean. This estate was in the region Chazeuil. It is not clear whether Mariotte spent most of his early life at Dijon
Dijon is a city in eastern France, the capital of the Côte-d'Or département and of the Burgundy region.Dijon is the historical capital of the region of Burgundy. Population : 151,576 within the city limits; 250,516 for the greater Dijon area....

, and whether he was prior of St Martin sous Beaune. There are no references to confirm this. In 1668 Colbert
Colbert is a common surname and rare given name of Old French and Old German origins; it was introduced to Britain by the Normans.Colbert most commonly refers to:*Stephen Colbert , American comedian and television show host...

 invited Mariotte to participate in the "l'Académie des Sciences", the French equivalence of the Royal Society. From that time on he published several articles.

In 1670 Mariotte moved to Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. The address on a letter found in the Leibniz archive shows that Edme lived in the rue de Bertin-Poirree, near the chapel of the guild of the goldsmiths in the rue des Orfevres in 1677. Perhaps he lived together with Jean and the couple Catherine and Blaise de Beaubreuil. Leibniz wrote that Edme stayed at Mr. Beaubrun's address, but probably he meant Beaubreuil, which sounds quite similar. Edme quitted the Academy in 1681 and died on the 12th of May 1684.


Mariotte is best known for his recognition in 1676 of Boyle's Law
Boyle's law
Boyle's law is one of many gas laws and a special case of the ideal gas law. Boyle's law describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant within a closed system...

 about the inverse relationship of volume and pressures in gases. In 1660 he had discovered the eye
Human eye
The human eye is an organ which reacts to light for several purposes. As a conscious sense organ, the eye allows vision. Rod and cone cells in the retina allow conscious light perception and vision including color differentiation and the perception of depth...

's blind spot
Blind spot (vision)
A blind spot, also known as a scotoma, is an obscuration of the visual field. A particular blind spot known as the blindspot, or physiological blind spot, or punctum caecum in medical literature, is the place in the visual field that corresponds to the lack of light-detecting photoreceptor cells on...

. A small coin placed in the blind spot disappears from vision, a seemingly magical event that amazed the French royal court when first presented by Mariotte.
He was one of the first members of the French Academy of Sciences
French Academy of Sciences
The French Academy of Sciences is a learned society, founded in 1666 by Louis XIV at the suggestion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research...

 founded at Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 in 1666. The first volume of the Histoire et mémoires de l'Académie (1733) contains many original papers by him upon a great variety of physical subjects, such as the motion of fluid
In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually deforms under an applied shear stress. Fluids are a subset of the phases of matter and include liquids, gases, plasmas and, to some extent, plastic solids....

s, the nature of colour, the notes of the trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

, the barometer
A barometer is a scientific instrument used in meteorology to measure atmospheric pressure. Pressure tendency can forecast short term changes in the weather...

, the fall of bodies, the recoil of gun
A gun is a muzzle or breech-loaded projectile-firing weapon. There are various definitions depending on the nation and branch of service. A "gun" may be distinguished from other firearms in being a crew-served weapon such as a howitzer or mortar, as opposed to a small arm like a rifle or pistol,...

s, the freezing of water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 etc. His Essais de physique, four in number, of which the first three were published at Paris between 1676 and 1679, are his most important works, and form, together with a Traité de la percussion des corps, the first volume of the Œuvres de Mariotte (2 vols., Leiden, 1717). The second of these essays (De la nature de l'air) contains the statement of the law that the volume of a gas varies inversely as the pressure, which, though very generally called by the name of Mariotte, had been discovered in 1660 by Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle FRS was a 17th century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor, also noted for his writings in theology. He has been variously described as English, Irish, or Anglo-Irish, his father having come to Ireland from England during the time of the English plantations of...

. The fourth essay is a systematic treatment of the nature of colour, with a description of many curious experiments and a discussion of the rainbow
A rainbow is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines on to droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere. It takes the form of a multicoloured arc...

, halos, parhelia, diffraction, and the more purely physiological phenomena of colour. The discovery of the blind spot is noted in a short paper in the second volume of his collected works.


  • Nouvelle découverte touchant la veue (1668)
  • Traitté du nivellement, avec la description de quelques niveaux nouvellement inventez (1672)
  • Traitté de la percussion ou chocq des corps, dans lequel les principales règles du mouvement, contraires à celles que Mr. Descartes
    René Descartes
    René Descartes ; was a French philosopher and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the 'Father of Modern Philosophy', and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day...

     et quelques autres modernes ont voulu établir, sont démonstrées par leurs véritables causes
  • Lettres écrites par MM. Mariotte, Pecquet
    Jean Pecquet
    Jean Pecquet was a French scientist. He studied the expansion of air, wrote on psychology, and is also known for investigating the thoracic duct...

    , et Perrault
    Claude Perrault
    Claude Perrault is best known as the architect of the eastern range of the Louvre Palace in Paris , but he also achieved success as a physician and anatomist, and as an author, who wrote treatises on physics and natural history.Perrault was born and died in Paris...

    , sur le sujet d'une nouvelle découverte touchant la veüe faite par M. Mariotte
  • Essay de logique, contenant les principes des sciences et la manière de s'en servir pour faire de bons raisonnemens (1678). Texte en ligne Réédition sous le titre : Essai de logique. Suivi de : Les principes du devoir et des connaissances humaines, Fayard, Paris, 1992.
  • Essays de phisique, ou Mémoires pour servir à la science des choses naturelles (1679–1681)

Posthumous publications
  • Traité du mouvement des eaux et des autres corps fluides, divisé en V parties, par feu M. Mariotte, mis en lumière par les soins de M. de La Hire (1686)
  • Œuvres de Mariotte (2 volumes, 1717). Réédition : J. Peyroux, Bordeaux, 2001. Texte en ligne
  • Discours de la nature de l'air, de la végétation des plantes. Nouvelle découverte touchant la vue, Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1923.
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