Swiss physicist, b. 1861, d. 1938. Guillaume received his early education in Neuchâtel, and continued at Zurich Polytechnic, where he received his doctorate. After a brief stint in the military, he entered the International Bureau of Weights and Measures as an assitant, in 1883. He became Assistant Director in 1902 and Director in 1915. He retired in 1936, but remained as an Honorary Director until his death.

During his time in the military, he made some investigations into the nature of ballistics and mechanics. After joining the Bureau of Weights and Measures, he began research in thermometry. He did work on early mercury-in-glass thermometers and made many important calibrations to the Bureau's thermometers. These thermometers were used in the establishment of units of length in terms of thermal expansions. He assisted with early measurements of both the metre and the kilogram.

Guillaume also did a lot of work on a nickel-iron alloy called invar, which does not expand nearly as much as other materials when heated. This was an important discovery, as the material could be used for standard units of length or in precise instruments, without fear of the conditions under which it is being used affecting the measurements taken.

He received the 1920 Nobel Prize in physics

"in recognition of the service he has rendered to precision measurements in Physics by his discovery of anomalies in nickel steel alloys"

Back to Nobel Prizes: Physics

Researched on www.nobel.se

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