Guillaume, Charles Édouard

Guillaume, Charles Édouard

Guillaume, Charles Édouard (shärl ādwärˈ gēyōmˈ), 1861–1938, Swiss physicist and metrologist, Ph.D. Zürich Polytechnic (now the Federal Institute of Technology), 1882. Guillaume joined the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sèvres, France, in 1883 and was appointed associate director in 1902, director in 1905, and honorary director in 1936 when he retired. Guillaume was the recipient of the 1920 Nobel Prize in Physics for his research on nickel-steel alloys, which led to the development of two new materials, invar and elinvar, for applications in clocks, watches, and other precision instruments. He exploited anomalies in these alloys to enable their use in measurement applications.
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Guillaume, Charles Édouard


Born Feb. 15, 1861, in Fleurier; died June 13, 1938, in Paris. Swiss physicist and metrologist.

Guillaume graduated from the University of Zürich in 1883 and began to work in the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sévres; he became its director in 1915. From 1883 to 1889 he took part in work to determine the coefficient of linear expansion and comparison between platinum and iridium standard meters. Guillaume determined the volume of 1 kilogram of water. He obtained a series of alloys of the invar type, which are of great importance in precision instrument making, metrology, and geodesy. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1920.


“Les metaux ‘invar’ et ‘elinvar,’ leurs propriétés, leurs applications.” Revue de l’industrie minerale, 1922, no. 44.


Zalutskii, L. V. “Metrologicheskie raboty Sharl’-Eduarda Gil’-oma.” Metrologiia i poverochnoe delo, 1938, no. 4.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.