Liquid-Crystal Science from 1888 to 1922: Building a Revolution

Authors

  • Dr. Michel Mitov

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    1. Centre d'Elaboration de Matériaux et d'Etudes Structurales (CEMES), CNRS, Toulouse (France), Fax: (+33) 562257999
    • Centre d'Elaboration de Matériaux et d'Etudes Structurales (CEMES), CNRS, Toulouse (France), Fax: (+33) 562257999

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Abstract

The saga of liquid crystals started with their discovery in 1888 by the botanist Friedrich Reinitzer, who unexpectedly observed “two melting points” for crystals extracted from the root of a carrot. At the end of the nineteenth century, most scientists did not believe in the existence of “liquid crystals” as promoted by the crystallographer Otto Lehmann. The controversies were very vivid; to the point that the recognition of mesomorphic states of matter by the scientific community required more than two decades. In the end, liquid crystals have changed our vision of matter by shattering the three-state paradigm. Since the mid-1970s, liquid crystals have revolutionized the worldwide information-display industry and now play a host of key roles in various technologies.

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