Born in Paris, France, his most famous inventions are:
- the anamorphic widescreen process, using an anamorphic lens system called Hypergonar, that resulted in the CinemaScope widescreen technique, and
- the co-invention of the Ritchey-Chrétien telescope (with George Willis Ritchey), which was an advanced type of astronomical telescope, now used in virtually all research telescopes.
He spent part of his early astronomical career at the Nice Observatory, which was close to his house, the Villa Paradou. The Villa was built by famous French architect Charles Garnier who also built the Opera of Paris. In 1995 the abandoned villa was acquired by the artist Rainer Maria Latzke, who restored the villa and added new modern murals to the already existing frescoes.
He was one of the founders of the Institut d'optique théorique et appliquée and professor at the French "grande école" SupOptique (École supérieure d'optique).
Awards and honors
- The astronomical Chrétien International Research Grants awards are in honor of him
- In 1901, Chrétien, Joseph Joachim Landerer and Thomas David Anderson jointly received the Prix Jules Janssen, the highest award of the Société astronomique de France, the French astronomical society.
- Valz Prize from the French Academy of Sciences (1931)
- The crater Chrétien on the Moon is named in his honor.
- In 1955, he received an Academy Award for his work on the CinemaScope process.
- Lance Day & Ian McNeil, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology, 1995
- Chrétien International Research Grants
- "Prix et Subventions Attribués en 1931: Prix Valz". Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Séances de l'Académie des Sciences. December 14, 1931. p. 1238.
- "Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature: Chrétien". International Astronomical Union (IAU) / USGS Astrogeology Science Center. Oct 18, 2010.