History of Optics at Franche-Comté

The University of Franche-Comté was founded in 1423, with its early academic structure organized around law, theology and medicine, and it took until 1845 before a Faculty of Science was established.  In the context of the university’s 600th anniversary in 2023, staff of the optics department of FEMTO-ST performed a number of actions to attempt to record and understand our history, including recording oral histories with retired members of staff, and searching for archival materials to build a more complete history.   In fact, when the optics department originally moved to its current location in 2014, a collection of early scientific instruments had been found neglected in storage, and this was saved from destruction. However the collection was in a poor state and uncatalogued, and nobody really seemed to know its history.  The anniversary celebrations provided the impetus to examine and catalogue this in detail, and subsequently uncovered that the majority of the instruments had been purchased at the founding of the Faculty of Science in 1844!  During 2023, we worked to clean these instruments to a state where they could be displayed (taking advice from historians to keep our efforts to a minimum) and on the International Day of Light 16 May 2023, we held a special conference where we traced the history of optics in the region, and inaugurated a Scientific Heritage Museum. We also recorded an inventory of these instruments which is continually being updated

A partial inventory is avalable for download here.

A brochure explaining the history can be downloaded here.

Ce musée et cette collection peuvent être visités par des groupes scolaires - il vous suffit de me contacter.  Un site web avec plus d'information sur la collection est ici. 

Instrument Collection FEMTO-ST