Augustin-Jean Fresnel was a French civil engineer and physicist whose research in optics led to the almost unanimous acceptance of the wave theory of light, excluding any remnant of Newton's corpuscular theory, from the late 1830s until the end of the 19th century. He is perhaps better known for inventing the catadioptric Fresnel lens and for pioneering the use of "stepped" lenses to extend the visibility of lighthouses, saving countless lives at sea. The simpler dioptric stepped lens, first proposed by Count Buffon and independently reinvented by Fresnel, is used in screen magnifiers and in condenser lenses for overhead projectors.
By expressing Huygens's principle of secondary waves and Young's principle of interference in quantitative terms, and supposing that simple colors consist of sinusoidal waves, Fresnel gave the first satisfactory explanation of diffraction by straight edges, including the first satisfactory wave-based explanation of rectilinear propagation.
Address Chemin de Labédoyère, Paris 75020, France
Coordinates 48°51'35.035" N 2°23'37.194" E