Hermann von Helmholtz

Gustav Fechner, Psychophysics, and the Ultimate Philosophic Problem

Gustav Fechner, Psychophysics, and the Ultimate Philosophic Problem

On April 19, 1801, German philosopher, physicist and experimental psychologist Gustav Theodor Fechner was born. An early pioneer in experimental psychology and founder of psychophysics, he inspired many 20th century scientists and philosophers. He is also credited with demonstrating the non-linear relationship between psychological sensation and the physical intensity of a stimulus, which became known as the Weber–Fechner law. “Man lives on earth not once, but three times: the first stage of…
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Rudolf Clausius and the Science of Thermodynamics

Rudolf Clausius and the Science of Thermodynamics

On January 2, 1822, German physicist and mathematician Rudolf Julius Emanuel Clausius was born. He is considered one of the central founders of the science of thermodynamics, who introduced the concept of entropy in 1865. If for the entire universe we conceive the same magnitude to be determined, consistently and with due regard to all circumstances, which for a single body I have called entropy, and if at the same time we introduce…
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Ludwig Boltzmann and Statistical Mechanics

Ludwig Boltzmann and Statistical Mechanics

On February 20, 1844, Austrian physicist and philosopher Ludwig Boltzmann was born. His greatest achievement was in the development of statistical mechanics, which explains and predicts how the properties of atoms determine the physical properties of matter. “Who sees the future? Let us have free scope for all directions of research; away with dogmatism, either atomistic or anti-atomistic!” — Ludwig Boltzmann, “Lectures on Gas Theory”, translated by Stephen George Brush (1971), p.…
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Carl Ludwig – Pioneer of Modern Physiology

Carl Ludwig – Pioneer of Modern Physiology

On December 29, 1816, German physician and physiologist Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig was born. Ludwig was one of the creators of modern physiology. He applied the experimental approach of chemistry and physics to explain the way the body functions. Ludwig investigated the structure of the kidneys and cardiac activity. Early Life Carl Ludwig was born in Witzenhausen an der Werra, near Kassel, Germany. His father was the rent master in Witzenhausen, later promoted…
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Friedrich Kohlrausch and the Conductive Properties of Electrolytes

Friedrich Kohlrausch and the Conductive Properties of Electrolytes

On October 14, 1840, German physicist Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Kohlrausch was born. Kohlrausch investigated the conductive properties of electrolytes and contributed to knowledge of their behaviour. He also investigated elasticity, thermoelasticity, and thermal conduction as well as magnetic and electrical precision measurements. Youth and Education Friedrich Kohlrausch was born in Rinteln, Germany, the son of Rudolf Kohlrausch, a physicist who introduced the relaxation phenomena and used the stretched exponential function to explain relaxation…
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James Edward Keeler and the Rings of Saturn

James Edward Keeler and the Rings of Saturn

On September 10, 1857, American astronomer James Edward Keeler was born. Keeler is best known for being the astronomer who confirmed James Clerk Maxwell‘s theory that the rings of Saturn were not solid (requiring uniform rotation), but composed of meteoric particles.[3] James Edward Keeler – Early Years James Edward Keeler was born in La Salle, Illinois, to William F. Keeler, who served as a paymaster in the U.S. Navy at the time…
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Ewald Hering’s Facsinating Research in Colour Vision

Ewald Hering’s Facsinating Research in Colour Vision

On August 5, 1834, German physiologist Ewald Hering was born. Hering is best known for his research into color vision, binocular perception and eye movements. Hering challenged the color-vision theory of Hermann von Helmholtz. Visual sensations, according to Hering‘s view, were due to three color receptors responding in an “opponent” fashion in color-pairs (white/black, yellow/blue, and red/green) to take account of the after-images of colors. Philosophy, Zoology, and Medicine Ewald Hering was…
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Julius von Mayer – Energy can neither be created or destroyed

Julius von Mayer – Energy can neither be created or destroyed

On November 25, 1814, German physician and physicist Julius Robert von Mayer was born. He is best known for enunciating in 1841 one of the original statements of the conservation of energy or what is now known as one of the first versions of the first law thermodynamics, namely that “energy can be neither created nor destroyed“. “Nature has put itself the problem of how to catch in flight light streaming to the…
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Sofia Kovalevskaya – Mathematician and Writer

Sofia Kovalevskaya – Mathematician and Writer

On January 15, 1850, Russian mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya was born. Kovalevskaya was responsible for important original contributions to analysis, partial differential equations and mechanics, and the first woman appointed to a full professorship in Northern Europe. “Say what you know, do what you must, come what may.” — Sofia Kovaleveskaya, Motto on her paper “On the Problem of the Rotation of a Solid Body about a Fixed Point.” (1886) Sofia Kovalevskaya – Early…
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Michael Pupin solving the Problems of long-distance Communication

Michael Pupin solving the Problems of long-distance Communication

On October 9, 1858, Serbian American physicist and physical chemist Michael Pupin was born, who is best known for his numerous patents, including a means of greatly extending the range of long-distance telephone communication by placing loading coils (of wire) at predetermined intervals along the transmitting wire (known as “pupinization“). “We would never get away from it. … It’s bad enough as it is, but with the wireless telephone one could be…
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