Bull, (George) Lucien (1876–1972), inventor, was born 5 January 1876 at 16 Upper Gloucester St., Dublin, one of two sons and two daughters of Cornelius Bull of Bedford, England, and Gabrielle Jouvé of Paris, owners of Bull's religious depository, Suffolk St., Dublin. Educated at Belvedere College, Dublin, and the Faculté des Sciences, Paris University, he graduated with a degree in zoology, botany, and geology. Having developed an interest in photography, he became assistant to the photographic pioneer Étienne-Jules Marey in 1896, and from 1904 he worked at the Institut Marey of which he became the director in 1914. Like his mentor he became a ground-breaker in cinematography. He invented (1902) an automated system of slow-motion cinematography, but his main interest lay in rapid photography. Also in 1902, he attained the recording of 500 images per second, an achievement he progressively bettered over the next fifty years, reaching 1 million images per second in 1952. Other inventions were the electrocardiograph (1908); and, in 1915, the first apparatus for locating artillery through sound, the result of his experiments in sonic phenomena. His brother René was also responsible for a wartime innovation that made the firing of machine-guns through the propellers of fighter planes possible.
Bull received a CBE (1920) and moved to Britain in the 1930s, becoming head of research at the National Office of Research and Invention (1933) and director of the School of Higher Studies (1937). He frequently visited Ireland but never resided there after childhood. He returned to Paris and became president (1948) of the Institute of Scientific Cinematography. Among the honours he received in France were the Légion d'honneur and the gold medal of the National Office of Research and Invention. On 16 March 1966 the Hommage à Lucien Bull exhibition was mounted at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, Paris. He never married, and died 30 August 1972 in Paris.