1891: COLOUR PHOTOGRAPHY
Lippmann made numerous contributions to instrumental design, particularly in connection with astronomy and seismology. His most notable contribution was the invention of the coelostat. Lippmann also devised a number of improvements on observational technique by the introduction of photographic or electrical methods of measurement. In 1908 Lippmann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics “for his method, based on the interference phenomenon, for reproducing colours photographically.” In the same year he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London. In Lippmann’s color process the sensitive emulsion, which is relatively thick, is backed by a reflecting surface of mercury. As a result the incident light is reflected back toward the source, and the incident and reflected beams combine to produce stationary waves. After development the film is found to contain reflecting planes of silver separated by distances of half a wavelength. When the film is viewed by reflected light, the color corresponding to the original beam is strongly reinforced by reflection by from successive planes.
Adapted from: "Lippmann, Gabriel Jonas." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, vol. 8, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2008
Gravier, Ch. "La Photographie Des Couleurs." La Photographie Française, no. 3, 1891
"Photographing Colors." The Photographic Times and American Photographer, vol. XXI, no. 494, 1891
Canfield, C. W. "Lippmann's Experiments in Color Photography." The Photographic Times and American Photographer, vol. XXI, no. 495, 1891
Wall, E. J. "Photography in Colours." The Photographic News, vol. XXXIX, no. 1868, 1894