Emil Lenz

Last updated
Emil Lenz
Heinrich Friedrich Emil Lenz.jpg
Born(1804-02-12)12 February 1804
Died10 February 1865(1865-02-10) (aged 60)
Alma mater University of Tartu
Known for Lenz's law

Heinrich Friedrich Emil Lenz ( /lɛnts/ ; German: [lɛnts] ; also Emil Khristianovich Lenz, Russian : Эмилий Христианович Ленц; 12 February 1804 – 10 February 1865), usually cited as Emil Lenz, [1] [2] was a Russian physicist. He is most noted for formulating Lenz's law in electrodynamics in 1834. [3]



Lenz was born in Dorpat (nowadays Tartu, Estonia), at that time in the Governorate of Livonia in the Russian Empire. After completing his secondary education in 1820, Lenz studied chemistry and physics at the University of Dorpat. [2] He traveled with the navigator Otto von Kotzebue on his third expedition around the world from 1823 to 1826. On the voyage Lenz studied climatic conditions and the physical properties of seawater. The results have been published in "Memoirs of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences" (1831).

After the voyage, Lenz began working at the University of St. Petersburg, Russia, where he later served as the Dean of Mathematics and Physics from 1840 to 1863 and was Rector from 1863 until his death in 1865. Lenz also taught at the Petrischule in 1830 and 1831, and at the Mikhailovskaya Artillery Academy.

Lenz had begun studying electromagnetism in 1831. Besides the law named in his honor, Lenz also independently discovered Joule's law in 1842; to honor his efforts on the problem, it is also given the name the "Joule–Lenz law," named also for James Prescott Joule.

Lenz eagerly participated in development of the electroplating technology, invented by his friend and colleague Moritz von Jacobi. In 1839, Lenz produced several medallions using electrotyping. Along with the electrotyped relief produced by Jacobi the same year, these were the first instances of galvanoplastic sculpture. [4]

Lenz died in Rome, after suffering from a stroke.

A small lunar crater on the far side of the moon is named after him.

See also

Related Research Articles

Lenzs law electromagnetic phenomena where changing magnetic fields induce currents with opposing fields

Lenz's law, named after the physicist Emil Lenz who formulated it in 1834, states that the direction of the electric current which is induced in a conductor by a changing magnetic field is such that the magnetic field created by the induced current opposes the initial changing magnetic field.

Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve Russian-German astronomer

Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve was a Baltic German astronomer and geodesist from the famous Struve family. He is best known for studying double stars and for initiating a triangulation survey later named Struve Geodetic Arc in his honor.

Friedrich Maximilian von Klinger German dramatist and novelist

Friedrich Maximilian von Klinger was a German dramatist and novelist. His play Sturm und Drang (1776) gave its name to the Sturm und Drang artistic epoch. He was a childhood friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and is often closely associated with Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz. Klinger worked as a playwright for the Seylersche Schauspiel-Gesellschaft for two years, but eventually left the Kingdom of Prussia to become a General in the Imperial Russian Army.

Moritz von Jacobi German engineer and physicist

Moritz Hermann von Jacobi was a German and Russian engineer and physicist. Jacobi worked mainly in Russia. He furthered progress in galvanoplastics, electric motors, and wire telegraphy.

Pyotr Romanovich Bagration Russian physicist

Pyotr Romanovich Bagration, the son of general Prince Roman Bagration, was a Russian-Georgian statesman, general and scientist who invented the first dry galvanic cell.

Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz Baltic German explorer and scientist

Johann Friedrich Gustav von Eschscholtz was a Baltic German physician, naturalist, and entomologist. He was one of the earliest scientific explorers of the Pacific region, making significant collections of flora and fauna in Alaska, California, and Hawaii.

Saint Petersburg State University Russian federal state-owned higher education institution

Saint Petersburg State University is a Russian federal state-owned higher education institution based in Saint Petersburg. It is the oldest and one of the largest universities in Russia.

Germain Henri Hess Swiss chemist

Germain Henri Hess was a Swiss-Russian chemist and doctor who formulated Hess's law, an early principle of thermochemistry.

Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz German writer

Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz was a Baltic German writer of the Sturm und Drang movement.

Franz Ernst Neumann German physicist and mineralogist

Franz Ernst Neumann was a German mineralogist, physicist and mathematician.

Ernst Rudolf von Trautvetter, was a Baltic German botanist, specialising in the flora of the Caucasus and central Asia.

Adolph Wagner German economist

Adolph Wagner was a German economist and politician, a leading Kathedersozialist and public finance scholar and advocate of agrarianism. Wagner's law of increasing state activity is named after him.

The Düsseldorf school of painting is a term referring to a group of painters who taught or studied at the Düsseldorf Academy during the 1830s and 1840s, when the Academy was directed by the painter Wilhelm von Schadow. The work of the Düsseldorf School is characterized by finely detailed yet fanciful landscapes, often with religious or allegorical stories set in the landscapes. Major members of the Düsseldorf School advocated "plein air painting", and tended to use a palette with relatively subdued and even colors. The Düsseldorf School derived from and was a part of German Romantic styles. Prominent members of the Düsselorf School included von Schadow, Karl Friedrich Lessing, Johann Wilhelm Schirmer, Andreas Achenbach, Hans Fredrik Gude, Adolph Tidemand, Oswald Achenbach, and Adolf Schrödter.

Electrotyping chemical method for forming metal parts that exactly reproduce a mode

Electrotyping is a chemical method for forming metal parts that exactly reproduce a model. The method was invented by Moritz von Jacobi in Russia in 1838, and was immediately adopted for applications in printing and several other fields. As described in an 1890 treatise, electrotyping produces "an exact facsimile of any object having an irregular surface, whether it be an engraved steel- or copper-plate, a wood-cut, or a form of set-up type, to be used for printing; or a medal, medallion, statue, bust, or even a natural object, for art purposes." In art, several important "bronze" sculptures created in the 19th century are actually electrotyped copper, and not bronze at all; sculptures were executed using electrotyping at least into the 1930s. In printing, electrotyping had become a standard method for producing plates for letterpress printing by the late 1800s. It complemented the older technology of stereotyping, which involved metal casting. By 1901, stereotypers and electrotypers in several countries had formed labor unions around these crafts. The unions persisted into the 1970s, but by the late 20th century, after more than a century in widespread use for preparing plates, the two technologies had been bypassed by the transitions to offset printing and to new techniques for the preparation of printing plates.

Friedrich Wilhelm Rembert von Berg Baltic German aristocrat, Russian statesman, and general

Friedrich Wilhelm Rembert Graf von Berg was a Baltic German nobleman, statesman, diplomat and general who served in the Imperial Russian Army. Berg was a count of the Austrian Empire and Grand Duchy of Finland and the 5th last man to be promoted General-Field Marshal in the history of the Russian Empire. He served as the Governor-General of Finland from 1854 to 1861 and the last Viceroy of the Kingdom of Poland from 1863 to 1874.

Friedrich Bidder Russian physiologist

Georg Friedrich Karl Heinrich Bidder was a Baltic German physiologist and anatomist from what was then the Governorate of Livonia in the Russian Empire.

Arthur von Oettingen German physicist

Arthur Joachim von Oettingen was a Baltic German physicist and music theorist. He was the brother of theologian Alexander von Oettingen (1827–1905) and ophthalmologist Georg von Oettingen (1824–1916).

Adolph Theodor Kupffer scientist

Adolph Theodor Kupffer ForMemRS was a German-Baltic chemist, and physicist. He founded the Depot of Standard Weights and Measures, and the main physical Observatory in Russia.

Saint Petersburg Imperial University one of the twelve Imperial Universities of the Russian Empire (1819-1917). In 1914 it was renamed the Petrograd University.

Saint Petersburg Imperial University was a Russian higher education institution based in Saint Petersburg, one of the twelve Imperial universities of the Russian Empire.

The 19th century in science saw the birth of science as a profession; the term scientist was coined in 1833 by William Whewell, which soon replaced the older term of (natural) philosopher.


  1. I. Grattan-Guinness (ed.), Companion Encyclopedia of the History and Philosophy of the Mathematical Sciences, Volume 2, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003, p. 1213.
  2. 1 2 Lezhneva, Olga (1970–1980). "Lenz, Emil Khristianovich (Heinrich Fridrich Emil)". Dictionary of Scientific Biography . 8. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 187–189. ISBN   978-0-684-10114-9.
  3. Lenz, E. (1834), "Ueber die Bestimmung der Richtung der durch elektodynamische Vertheilung erregten galvanischen Ströme", Annalen der Physik und Chemie, 107 (31), pp. 483–494. A partial translation of the paper is available in Magie, W. M. (1963), A Source Book in Physics, Harvard: Cambridge MA, pp. 511–513.
  4. History of electroplating in the 19th century Russia. Archived 2012-03-05 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)