Google Doodle celebrates birthday of key inventor of film

Joseph Plateau invented the phenakistoscope

(CNN) - If you like movies, you will appreciate Monday's Google Doodle celebrating the 218th birthday of Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau.

Doesn't sound familiar? Well, Plateau was a Belgian physicist who discovered the science behind making movies.

That's right, without him, we might be living in a world without Hollywood.

Plateau invented the phenakistoscope in 1832. The device has a spinning disk with images drawn on the sides in a series of movements. The drawings appear to be in motion when viewed through a mirror.

Plateau was born in Brussels in 1801, the son of an accomplished painter. He studied law, but then became a distinguished scientist. His main area of curiosity concerned light and color.

In his doctoral dissertation he focused on how light allows us to form images on our retina. This research allowed him to come up with the concept of the phenakistoscope.

Plateau lost his vision later in life, but continued to work as a professor of experimental physics at Belgium's Ghent University.