Karl Ferdinand Braun – inventor of the famous Braun Tube

Karl Ferdinand Braun
(1850 – 1918)

On June 6, 1850, inventor and engineer Karl Ferdinand Braun was born. The Nobel laureate (1909) is known for his significant improvement of radio and television technology in the Wilhelmine Period.

Karl Ferdinand Braun was born in Fulda and spent his first university years in Marburg. He studied mathematics as well as natural sciences and became a member of the German student corp Teutonia Marburg, which is still active these days. In 1869, he moved to Berlin and was honored to work for Heinrich Gustav Magnus, a famous physician and chemist. From there Karl Ferdinand Braun’s interests enhanced increasingly in the field of vibrations, which led to his 24 page long dissertation about vibrations of elastic rods and strings in 1872. Two years later, he succeeded in disproving Ohm’s law through his discovery of crystal’s rectifying abilities. Even though, this work did not receive much social attention, it improved Braun’s reputation scientifically. Therefore, he started his university career at the University of Karlsruhe in 1877, where he was known for his good sense of humor as well as well structured and understandable lectures.

To his globally well known inventions belongs the cathode ray tube, which is also called Braun tube. It is mainly installed in televisions and computer monitors, but it now gets replaced by e.g. plasma- and LCD-techniques. Karl Ferdinand Braun started researching on telegraphy, wherefore Guglielmo Marconi joined him and they both were able to set up long distance telegraphy in the early 1900’s. They both were honored with the Nobel Prize for their magnificent contribution on wireless telegraphy. A few years later, Braun founded the company Telefunken in Berlin, which partly operated in Germany until 2005.

At Yovisto, you may enjoy the story of the cathode ray tube. In the video, the functionalities and their influences of Braun’s technology are well illustrated.

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