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Wilhelm Weber

Born Wilhelm Eduard Weber
24 October 1804(1804-10-24)
Wittenberg, Germany
Died 23 June 1891 (aged 86)
Göttingen, Germany
Nationality German
Fields Physicist
Institutions University of Göttingen
University of Halle
University of Leipzig
Alma mater University of Halle
University of Göttingen
Doctoral advisor Johann Salomo Christoph Schweigger
Doctoral students Ernst Abbe
Friedrich Kohlrausch
Eduard Riecke
Other notable students Gottlob Frege
Arthur Schuster
Known for First use of 'c' for speed of light
Work on magnetism
Notable awards Copley Medal (1859)
Matteucci Medal (1879)
The SI unit of magnetic flux is named after him. He was the brother of Ernst Heinrich Weber and Eduard Friedrich Weber. His father was Michael Weber.

Wilhelm Eduard Weber (24 October 1804 – 23 June 1891) was a German physicist and, together with Carl Friedrich Gauss, inventor of the first electromagnetic telegraph.




Early years

Weber was born in Wittenberg, where his father, Michael Weber, was professor of theology. William was the second of three brothers, all of whom were distinguished by an aptitude for science. After the dissolution of the University of Wittenberg his father was transferred to Halle during 1815. William had received his first lessons from his father, but was now sent to the Orphan Asylum and Grammar School at Halle. After that he entered the University, and devoted himself to natural philosophy. He distinguished himself so much in his classes, and by original work, that after taking his degree of Doctor and becoming a Privatdozent he was appointed Professor Extraordinary of natural philosophy at Halle.


During 1831, on the recommendation of Carl Friedrich Gauss, he was hired by the university of Göttingen as professor of physics, at the age of twenty-seven. His lectures were interesting, instructive, and suggestive. Weber thought that, in order to thoroughly understand physics and apply it to daily life, mere lectures, though illustrated by experiments, were insufficient, and he encouraged his students to experiment themselves, free of charge, in the college laboratory. As a student of twenty years he, with his brother, Ernst Heinrich Weber, Professor of Anatomy at Leipzig, had written a book on the Wave Theory and Fluidity, which brought its authors a considerable reputation. Acoustics was a favourite science of his, and he published numerous papers upon it in Poggendorffs Annalen, Schweigger's Jahrbücher für Chemie und Physik, and the musical journal Carcilia. The 'mechanism of walking in mankind' was another study, undertaken in conjunction with his younger brother, Eduard Weber. These important investigations were published between the years 1825 and 1838. Gauss and Weber constructed the first electromagnetic telegraph during 1833, which connected the observatory with the institute for physics in Göttingen.

Dismissed by the Hanoverian Government for his liberal political opinions, Weber travelled for a time, visiting England, among other countries, and became professor of physics in Leipzig from 1843 to 1849, when he was reinstalled at Göttingen. One of his most important works was the Atlas des Erdmagnetismus ("atlas of geomagnetism"), a series of magnetic maps, and it was chiefly through his efforts that magnetic observatories were instituted. He studied magnetism with Gauss, and during 1864 published his Electrodynamic Proportional Measures containing a system of absolute measurements for electric currents, which forms the basis of those in use. Weber died in Göttingen, where he is buried in the same cemetery as Max Planck and Max Born.

He was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences during 1855.

The SI unit of magnetic flux, the weber (symbol: Wb) is named after him.

See also

German inventors and discoverers


External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

WILHELM EDUARD WEBER (1804-1891), German physicist, was born at Wittenberg on the 24th of October 1804, and was a younger brother of Ernst Heinrich Weber, the author of Weber's Law (see below). He studied at the university of Halle, where he took his doctor's degree in 1826 and became extraordinary professor of physics in 5828. Three years later he removed to Göttingen as professor of physics, and remained there till 1837, when he was one of the seven professors who were expelled from their chairs for protesting against the action of the king of Hanover (duke of Cumberland) in suspending the constitution. A period of retirement followed this episode, but in 1843 he accepted the chair of physics at Leipzig, and six years later returned to Göttingen, where he died on the 23rd of June 1891. Weber's name is especially known for his work on electrical measurement. Until his time there was no established system either of stating or measuring electrical quantities; but he showed, as his colleague K. F. Gauss did for magnetic quantities, that it is both theoretically and practically possible to define them, not merely by reference to other arbitrary quantities of the same kind, but absolutely in terms in which the units of length, time, and mass are alone involved. He also carried on extensive researches in the theory of magnetism; and it is interesting that in connexion with his observations in terrestrial magnetism he not only employed an early form of mirror galvanometer, but also, about 1833, devised a system of electromagnetic telegraphy, by which a distance of some 9000 ft. was worked over. In conjunction with his elder brother he published in 1825 a well - known treatise on waves, Die W ellenlehre auf Experimente gegrundet; and in 1833 he collaborated with his younger brother, the physiologist Eduard Friedrich Weber (1806-1871), in an investigation into the mechanism of walking.

<< Carl Maria Friedrich Ernest von Weber

Weber's Law >>


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