Étienne-Louis Malus

Étienne Malus

1775 (Paris) – 1812 (Paris)

Monge taught Malus before the 18-year-old was expelled for political reasons; Fourier taught him at the École Polytechnique; all three joined Napoleon’s army in Egypt as scientific advisors, Malus going on to Syria where he contracted the plague that eventually killed him. He was a member of Berthollet and Laplace’s Société d’Arcueil, along with Humboldt, Biot, Gay-Lussac and Poisson. He encouraged Cauchy in his geometrical work, and corresponded with Young on wave theory. Arago, whose work was closely related, wrote Malus’ biography, and continued his scientific investigations after his early death.