At the occasion of the 160th anniversary of Arago’s death, the article presents his biographical data and the main results of his scientific work in physics and geodetics. His contribution to the completion of the most extensive degree measurement of the Earth is mentioned. Arago’s greatest contribution to physics consists in polarization research. He also participated in the initial development of electromagnetism, inspiring his successor A. M. Amp\`ere. Arago entered political life and held some of the highest political posts in France for a short time.