(b. Le Creusot, Saône-et-Loire, France, 18 January 1867; d. Tabanac, Gironde, France, 17 July 1939)
Fichot entered the École Polytechnique in 1884, and upon graduation in 1886 he joined the Marine Corps of Hydrographic Engineers. In November 1926 he was made chief of the Marine Hydrographic Service, and at the time of his death he was its director. In 1912 Fichot received the Binoux Award of the Académie des Sciences for his contributions to geography and navigation, and in 1925 he was elected a member of the academy. He was made an officer of the Legion of Honor in 1911 and a member of the Bureau des Longitudes in 1923. He was elected president of the Geodesy and Geophysics in 1923.
Fichot’s main interests were in hydrography, geodesy, geography, terrestrial physics, and the theory of the tides. His major contributions, however, were in hydrographic service he made numerous hydrographic, geologic, and meteorologic observations along the coasts of France and the French colonies in Asia and Africa and prepared maps of the coastal regions. In 1908 he discovered a new navigational route along the coast of Indochina by accurately mapping obstructions between Cam Ranh Bay and Nha Hang. In 1912 he prepared hydrographic maps of the Gironde estuary, which became an important navigational route during World War I.
One of Fichot’s major works, Les marées et leur utilisation industrielle (1923), contained a comprehensive synthesis of existing knowledge in tides as well as results of some of his own research on the subject. Later, in collaboration with Henri Poincaré, he tried to expand his work on tides. Parts of their research were published as Exposé critique de la théorie des marees (1938-1941). Nevertheless, the study remained unfinished at time of Fichot’s death.
Fichot’s writings include “Rapport sur la reconnaissance hydrographique de I’embouchure de la Gironde en 1912,” in Recherches hydrographiques sur le régime des côtes, XIX (Paris, 1911-1914), 12-82; “Rapport sur les travaux de la Mission hydrographique de I“Indo-Chine en 1909-1910,” in Annales hydrographiques, 33 , no. 2 (1913), 357-393; “Marées océaniques et marées internes,” in Encyclopédie des sciences mathématiques pures et appliquées, VI, pt. 8 (Leipzig-Paris, 1916), 1-96; Les marées et leur utilisation industrielle (Paris,1923); and “L’influence de la rotation terrestre sur la physionomie des marées” in Annuaire publié par le Bureau des longitudes (Paris, 1925), pp. A.1-A.71.
Asit K. Biswas
Margaret R. Peitsch