Wilhelm Eduard Weber

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Wilhelm Weber
Wilhelm Eduard Weber II.jpg
Wilhelm Eduard Weber

(1804-10-24)24 October 1804
Died23 June 1891(1891-06-23) (aged 86)
Alma mater University of Halle
University of Göttingen
Known for First use of c for speed of light
Work on magnetism
Awards Copley Medal (1859)
Matteucci Medal (1879)
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Institutions University of Göttingen
University of Halle
University of Leipzig
Doctoral advisor Johann Salomo Christoph Schweigger
Doctoral students Ernst Abbe
Friedrich Kohlrausch
Eduard Riecke
Other notable students Gottlob Frege
Arthur Schuster
Wilhelm Eduard Weber sig.jpg
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 Weber House, 14,15 Schlossstrasse, Wittenberg Wilhelm Weber House, 14,15 Schlossstrasse, Wittenberg.jpg
Wilhelm Weber House, 14,15 Schlossstrasse, Wittenberg
Memorial to Wilhelm Weber, Wittenberg Post Office Memorial to Wilhelm Weber, Wittenberg Post Office.jpg
Memorial to Wilhelm Weber, Wittenberg Post Office

Wilhelm Eduard Weber ( /ˈvbər/ ; [1] German: [ˈveːbɐ] ; 24 October 1804 – 23 June 1891) was a German physicist and, together with Carl Friedrich Gauss, inventor of the first electromagnetic telegraph.

Physicist scientist who does research in physics

A physicist is a scientist who specializes in the field of physics, which encompasses the interactions of matter and energy at all length and time scales in the physical universe. Physicists generally are interested in the root or ultimate causes of phenomena, and usually frame their understanding in mathematical terms. Physicists work across a wide range of research fields, spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic and particle physics, through biological physics, to cosmological length scales encompassing the universe as a whole. The field generally includes two types of physicists: experimental physicists who specialize in the observation of physical phenomena and the analysis of experiments, and theoretical physicists who specialize in mathematical modeling of physical systems to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena. Physicists can apply their knowledge towards solving practical problems or to developing new technologies.

Carl Friedrich Gauss German mathematician and physicist

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (; German: Gauß[ˈkaɐ̯l ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈɡaʊs]; Latin: Carolus Fridericus Gauss; was a German mathematician and physicist who made significant contributions to many fields in mathematics and sciences. Sometimes referred to as the Princeps mathematicorum and "the greatest mathematician since antiquity", Gauss had an exceptional influence in many fields of mathematics and science, and is ranked among history's most influential mathematicians.


Biography of Wilhelm

Early years

Weber was born in Schlossstrasse in Wittenberg, where his father, Michael Weber, was professor of theology. The building had previously been the home of Abraham Vater. [2]

Wittenberg Place in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a town in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Wittenberg is situated on the River Elbe, 60 kilometers (37 mi) north of Leipzig and 90 kilometers (56 mi) south-west of Berlin, and has a population of 48,501 (2008).

Abraham Vater German anatomist

Abraham Vater was a German anatomist from Wittenberg.

Wilhelm 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 in 1815. Wilhelm 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.

Privatdozent or Privatdozentin, abbreviated PD, P.D. or Priv.-Doz., is an academic title similar to Adjunct professor in North America conferred at some European universities, especially in German-speaking countries, to someone who holds certain formal qualifications that denote an ability to teach a designated subject at university level. In its current usage, the title indicates that the holder has permission to teach and examine independently without having a position. The title is not necessarily connected to a salaried position, but may entail a nominal obligation to teach.


In 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 in 1833, which connected the observatory with the institute for physics in Göttingen.

University of Göttingen university in the city of Göttingen, Germany

The University of Göttingen is a public research university in the city of Göttingen, Germany. Founded in 1734 by George II, King of Great Britain and Elector of Hanover, and starting classes in 1737, the Georgia Augusta was conceived to promote the ideals of the Enlightenment. It is the oldest university in the state of Lower Saxony and the largest in student enrollment, which stands at around 31,500.

Ernst Heinrich Weber German psychologist

Ernst Heinrich Weber was a German physician who is considered one of the founders of experimental psychology. He was an influential and important figure in the areas of physiology and psychology during his lifetime and beyond. His studies on sensation and touch, along with his emphasis on good experimental techniques gave way to new directions and areas of study for future psychologists, physiologists, and anatomists.

Leipzig Place in Saxony, Germany

Leipzig is the most populous city in the federal state of Saxony, Germany. With a population of 581,980 inhabitants as of 2017, it is Germany's tenth most populous city. Leipzig is located about 160 kilometres (99 mi) southwest of Berlin at the confluence of the White Elster, Pleiße and Parthe rivers at the southern end of the North German Plain.

In December 1837, the Hannovarian government dismissed Weber, one of the Göttingen Seven, from his post at the university for political reasons. Weber then travelled for a time, visiting England, among other countries, and became professor of physics in Leipzig from 1843 to 1849, when he was reinstated at Göttingen. One of his most important works, co-authored with Carl Friedrich Gauss and Carl Wolfgang Benjamin Goldschmidt, was Atlas des Erdmagnetismus: nach den Elementen der Theorie entworfen ( Atlas of Geomagnetism: Designed according to the elements of the theory), [3] [4] 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.

Göttingen Seven group of seven professors from Göttingen who protested against the abolition of the constitution, exiled for it (1837)

The Göttingen Seven were a group of seven professors from Göttingen. In 1837, they protested against the abolition or alteration of the constitution of the Kingdom of Hanover by Ernest Augustus and refused to swear an oath to the new king of Hanover. The company of seven was led by historian Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann, who himself was one of the key advocates of the unadulterated constitution. The other six were the Germanist brothers Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, jurist Wilhelm Eduard Albrecht, historian Georg Gottfried Gervinus, physicist Wilhelm Eduard Weber, and theologian and orientalist Heinrich Georg August Ewald.

Carl Wolfgang Benjamin Goldschmidt was a German astronomer, mathematician, and physicist of Jewish descent who was a professor of astronomy at the University of Göttingen. He is also known as Benjamin Goldschmidt, C. W. B. Goldschmidt, Carl Goldschmidt, and Karl Goldschmidt.

Atlas A collection of maps

An atlas is a collection of maps; it is typically a bundle of maps of Earth or a region of Earth.

Wilhelm Eduard Weber's grave in Gottingen Grave of Wilhelm Eduard Weber at Stadtfriedhof Gottingen 2017 01.jpg
Wilhelm Eduard Weber's grave in Göttingen

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

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is one of the royal academies of Sweden. Founded on June 2, 1739, it is an independent, non-governmental scientific organization which takes special responsibility for ptomoting the natural sciences and mathematics and strengthen their influence in society, whilst endeavouring to promote the exchange of ideas between various disciplines.

In 1856 with Rudolf Kohlrausch (1809–1858) he demonstrated that the ratio of electrostatic to electromagnetic units produced a number that matched the value of the then known speed of light. This finding led to Maxwell's conjecture that light is an electromagnetic wave. This also led to Weber's development of his theory of electrodynamics. Also, the first usage of the letter "c" to denote the speed of light was in an 1856 paper by Kohlrausch and Weber.

International Recognition

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

See also


  1. "Weber". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary .
  2. Wilhelm Weber House plaques, Wittenberg
  3. "Book Details Page: Atlas Des Erdmagnetismus: Nach Den Elementen Der Theorie Entworfen". World Ebook Fair. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
  4. "Atlas Des Erdmagnetismus: Nach Den Elementen Der Theorie Entworfen". Alibris. Retrieved 2012-08-27.

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