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Joblot, Louis

1. Dates
Born: Bar-le-Duc, Lorraine, 9 Aug. 1645 (this would appear to be the date of baptism rather than birth)
Died: Paris, 27 Apr. 1723
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 78
2. Father
Occupation: Merchant
His father, Nicolas, was probably a moderately well-to-do merchant. The godparents of the various children in the family were all quite prominent in the area. Louis was the fourth child.
I interpret "moderately well-to-do" to mean prosperous but not wealthy.
3. Nationality
Birth: French (I am uncertain about this. Lorraine was. certainly not part of France at that time. However, the name is certainly French.)
Career: French
Death: French
4. Education
Schooling: No University
Nothing certain is known of his life prior to his 35th year. Perhaps he was educated at the College Gilles de Treves.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic (by assumption)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Microscopy, Magnetism, Instrumentation
Subordinate: Embryology
The publication of Descriptions et usages de plusieurs mouveaux microscopes (Paris, 1718) established Joblot as the first French microscopist. The first half of the treatise was devoted to the instrument itself; he developed new forms of it. The second half dealt with microscopic life (protozoa), and briefly he took up the generation of infusoria, opposing the theory of spontaneous generation.
He formulated his own theory on magnetism, and in 1701 constructed the first artificial magnet.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Schoolmastering, Government
In 1680 he was appointed assistant professor of mathematics at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, that is, the Académie of painting and scupture. (This position was not salaried. It appears to me that he had to have been receiving fees from students; no other source of support is mentioned.) In 1699 he became professor of mathematics at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts at a salary of 300 livres. It was not clear to me whether he could be considered a member of the Académie or not, but for my purposes it does not matter. He was a governmental employee in either case. He resigned his professorship in 1721.
8. Patronage
Type: Aristrocrat
He supplied microscopes to Marshal d'Estrées, and he instructed the Duchess of Maine in microscopis observation.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Instruments, Applied Mathematics
He constructed the first artificial magnet, for use in magnetical investigations, in 1701.
He wrote on the construction and use of microscopes, advancing the art. He also made microscopes with the aid of an instrument maker.
His function at the Académie of painting was to instruction young painters in perspective.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
As I said above, it is not clear to me whether he was an Academician in the proper sense, but he was certainly associated with the Academy of Painting and Sculpture throughout his known adult life.
  1. W.Konarski, "Un savant barrisien, precureur de M. Pasteur, Louis Joblot(1645-1723)," Mémoires de la Société des letters, sciences et arts de Bar-le-Duc, 3rd ser., 4 (1895), pp.205- 333.
  2. L.L. Woodruff, "Louis Joblot and the Protozoa," Scientific Monthly, 44 (1937), pp.41-47. AP2.P81.
  3. Not in Nouvelle biographie générale. Beyond the present extent of the Dictionaire de biographie francaise.
Not Available and Not Consulted
  1. H. Brocard, Louis de Puget, Francois Lamy, Louis Joblot, leur action scientifique d'apres de nouveaux documents, (Bar-le- Duc, 1905).
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

©1995 Al Van Helden
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