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Posts tagged ‘finding physicists’

Ludwig Boltzmann, Arkadenhof, Universitaet Wien, University of Vienna, physicist, physics, Vienna, Wien, Oesterreich, Austria, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday at Uni Vienna: Ludwig Boltzmann

I’ve highlighted notable physicists who’ve been memorialized within the Arcade Courtyard in the main building of the University of Vienna:

2 Apr: Lise Meitner;
9 Apr: Christian Doppler, Erwin Schrödinger;
16 Apr: Joseph Littrow, Karl Littrow;
23 Apr: Josef Stefan;
30 Apr: Ludwig Boltzmann.

These are all names whose work and discovery form the historical and scientific basis of my university education in the field of physics.


The inscription for physicist and university professor Ludwig Boltzmann reads:

Ludwig Boltzmann, 1844-1906:
Professor of mathematics, 1873-1876;
Professor of theoretical physics, 1894-1900 and 1902-1906.

Buried in Vienna’s Central Cemetery, Boltzmannn’s gravestone includes the equation for entropy in statistical mechanics and thermodynamics.

S \,=\, k \log W

In collaboration with Josef Stefan, the Stefan-Boltzmann Law describes how an object that absorbs all radiation falling on its surface emits radiative intensity (I, radiation energy per unit time per unit area) that’s proportional to the fourth power in temperature T with constant emissivity ε (between 0 and 1) and Stefan-Boltzmann constant σ.

I \,=\, \epsilon \sigma T^4

Ludwig Boltzmann was also one of Lise Meitner’s professors and advisors at the university. Meitner would become the 3rd woman to receive a doctorate in physics from the University of Vienna, and would go on to describe the process of nuclear fission.

The university’s historical main building is inside the city’s Old Town which has been inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. I made the photo above on 16 May 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the following settings: 1/30-sec, f/5.6, ISO1000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-iGz.

Josef Stefan, Arkadenhof, Universitaet Wien, University of Vienna, physicist, physics, Vienna, Wien, Oesterreich, Austria, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday at Uni Vienna: Josef Stefan

Throughout the month, I’m highlighting notable physicists who’ve been memorialized within the Arcade Courtyard in the main building of the University of Vienna:

2 Apr: Lise Meitner;
9 Apr: Christian Doppler, Erwin Schrödinger;
16 Apr: Joseph Littrow, Karl Littrow;
23 Apr: Josef Stefan;
30 Apr: Ludwig Boltzmann.

These are all names whose work and discovery form the historical and scientific basis of my university education in the field of physics.


The memorial to Josef Stefan (Jožef Štefan) includes a small inscription:

Josef Stefan
Professor of physics, 1863-1893
Born 1835, died 1893

An important physics equation is the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, which describes how an object that absorbs all radiation falling on its surface emits radiative intensity I (radiation energy per unit time per unit area) that is proportional to the fourth power in temperature T; the other two quantities are constants: emissivity ε between 0 and 1, and the Stefan-Boltzmann constant σ:

I \,=\, \epsilon \sigma T^4

Both Stefan and Boltzmann are buried in Vienna’s Central Cemetery. Boltzmann’s gravestone includes his entropy equation. Stefan does not have his own grave; instead, his descendants in the Munk family have a gravestone.

The university’s historical main building is inside the city’s Old Town which has been inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. I made the photo above on 16 May 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the following settings: 1/60-sec, f/3.2, ISO1000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-iGt.

Josef Johann von Littrow, Karl von Littrow, Universitaet Wien, University of Vienna, physicist, physics, Arkadenhof, Vienna, Wien, Austria, Oesterreich, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday at Uni Vienna: Joseph & Karl Littrow

Throughout the month, I’m highlighting notable physicists who’ve been memorialized within the Arcade Courtyard in the main building of the University of Vienna:

2 Apr: Lise Meitner;
9 Apr: Christian Doppler, Erwin Schrödinger;
16 Apr: Joseph Littrow, Karl Littrow;
23 Apr: Josef Stefan;
30 Apr: Ludwig Boltzmann.

These are all names whose work and discovery form the historical and scientific basis of my university education in the field of physics.


A wall plaque memorializes astronomers Joseph Littrow and (his son) Karl Littrow at left and right, respectively. Joseph was director of the Vienna Observatory from 1819 to 1842; Karl succeeded his father as director from 1842 to 1877.

The Littrow crater on the Moon is named after Joseph, but he’s also best known in physics for his optics inventions: the Littrow prism and the Littrow configuration optimizing the performance of a spectrograph with a specially designed diffraction grating.

The university’s historical main building is inside the city’s Old Town which has been inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. I made the photo above on 16 May 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the following settings: 1/30-sec, f/2.8, ISO1000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-iGr.

Christian Doppler, Erwin Schroedinger, Arkadenhof, Universitaet Wien, University of Vienna, physicist, physics, Vienna, Wien, Oesterreich, Austria, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday at Uni Vienna: Doppler & Schrödinger

This month I’m highlighting notable physicists who’ve been memorialized within the Arcade Courtyard in the main building of the University of Vienna:

2 Apr: Lise Meitner;
9 Apr: Christian Doppler, Erwin Schrödinger;
16 Apr: Joseph Littrow, Karl Littrow;
23 Apr: Josef Stefan;
30 Apr: Ludwig Boltzmann.

These are names whose work and discovery form part of the historical and scientific basis of my university education in the field of physics.


Shown in the image are memorials to Christian Doppler and Erwin Schrödinger at left and right, respectively. My translation to the inscription on the Doppler memorial inscription reads:

Christian Doppler, 1803-1853:
Professor of physics at Vienna University, 1850-1853.
The Doppler principle has ensured the Doppler name for all time.

With his birth house in Salzburg as backdrop, I briefly describe the physics of the Doppler effect.

The Schrödinger memorial highlights an early 20th-century revolution in science in the form of quantum mechanics: the physics of the atom and its constituents. The well-known equation representing Newton’s 2nd Law, “F = ma”, is to classical mechanics, as the following equation is to quantum mechanics.

i \hbar \dot{\psi} \,=\, H \psi

I was able to “localize” the final resting place for Schrödinger and his wife in the Austrian alpine town of Alpbach. The above equation appears on the their grave in Alpbach and on the memorial at the University of Vienna. The equation is a generalized form of the time-dependent Schrödinger equation describing a physical system, represented by ψ, which changes with time.

The university’s historical main building is inside the city’s Old Town which has been inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. I made the photo above on 16 May 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the following settings: 1/60-sec, f/6.4, ISO1000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-iGo.

Lise Meitner, Arkadenhof, Universitaet Wien, University of Vienna, physicist, physics, Vienna, Wien, Oesterreich, Austria, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday at Uni Vienna: Lise Meitner

Throughout the month, I’m highlighting notable physicists who’ve been memorialized within the Arcade Courtyard in the main building of the University of Vienna:

2 Apr: Lise Meitner;
9 Apr: Christian Doppler, Erwin Schrödinger;
16 Apr: Joseph Littrow, Karl Littrow;
23 Apr: Josef Stefan;
30 Apr: Ludwig Boltzmann.

These are all names whose work and discovery form the historical and scientific basis of my university education in the field of physics.


Lise Meitner (1878-1968) was an Austrian physicist whose work with chemist Otto Hahn produced breakthroughs in our understanding of atomic and nuclear physics. Meitner overcame obstacles blocking women from studying and working at universities in the early 20th-century. She wanted to study at the University of Vienna, and thanks to her parents’ support, she studied on her own and successfully passed the university’s entrance examination in 1901. She studied physics over the next five years; physicist Ludwig Boltzmann was one of her instructors and advisors. In 1906, Meitner became the 3rd woman at the university to receive a doctorate in physics (after Olga Ehrenhaft-Steindler and Selma Freund). In 1907, she moved to Berlin where she would stay for over 30 years. In 1926, she became one of the first women appointed to associate professor at Berlin University and the first woman as professor of physics in Germany. Her Jewish lineage meant loss of title and employment, and in mid-1938, a hasty departure from Germany and exile to Sweden. In 1939, she and her nephew physicist Otto Frisch published a short breakthrough paper with their theoretical analysis of the newly discovered process of “nuclear fission” in experiments with uranium and thorium by Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann. Later, she refused to help with the construction of an atomic bomb and objected to the use of nuclear weapons for the rest of her life.

Like many, I believe Lise Meitner should have been honoured as co-Laureate for the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded solely to Otto Hahn. In mid-2016, the University of Vienna unveiled a monument in her honour.

The university’s historical main building is inside the city’s Old Town which has been inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. I made the photo above on 16 May 2018 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the following settings: 1/60-sec, f/9, ISO1000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-iFJ.

Würzburg: Röntgen, X-rays, & 1st Nobel Prize in Physics

On my list and map, I placed the museum’s location as a “possible” to visit in the city. If I had time, I’d swing by and have a look, appealing to my fondness for science and the history of science.

Many arrive in Würzburg to visit the Residenz UNESCO world heritage site. On a daytrip from Frankfurt am Main, I duly visited the Residenz, and easily completed my initial visit requirements, as I knew I would. That’s when my inner voice (a.k.a., the spirit of B.Sc. ’90) reminded me insistently the museum was “simply and conveniently” on the return walk to the city’s central train station to fully complete my visit requirements.

I walked north from the Residenz, and followed the signs into the building for the Röntgen-Gedächtnisstätte (Röntgen Memorial) where X-rays were discovered. Standing inside the former laboratory space, I’m surrounded by artifacts, books, papers, tubes, equipment, and photographs.

I also feel a part of my undergraduate physics education has come full circle.

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Ludwig Boltzmann, Wiener Zentralfriedhof, Vienna Central Cemetery, Vienna, Wien, Austria, fotoeins.com

My Vienna: Ludwig Boltzmann in spring

I’m neither tragic nor hip, but I know a little bit about Canadian icon and band, The Tragically Hip, and specifically, a song of theirs called “Springtime in Vienna.”

I can’t play a musical instrument, but I especially liked listening to a performance of Johann Strauss II’s “An der schönen blauen Donau” (The Blue Danube) on an intercity river catamaran between Vienna and Bratislava.

What I’m totally convinced is when spring comes calling, I’m allergic to nature. I’m a living example to irritation and inflammation, and living consequence to nature’s response to spring.

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Erwin Schroedinger, Annemarie Schroedinger, Alpbach Cemetery, Heiliger Oswald, Pfarrkirche Alpbach, Alpbach, Tirol, Tyrol, Austria, fotoeins.com

Alpbach, Austria: finding Erwin Schrödinger

Localizing his final wavefunction in Alpbach.

It took a little effort: a train out from Innsbruck to Brixlegg, followed by a regional bus into another valley of countless valleys, accompanied by the illumination of sharp morning light, in a blanket of meadows and buttercups, under a deep ocean of impossibly blue skies. And on both sides of this river valley are an endless series of mountains, these peaks the smaller cousins to larger Austrian Alps nearby.

In Alpbach, the weekday morning is quiet, as the town begins to stir with people starting their work day. The bank has just opened, fresh baked bread and pastry and roasted coffee emanate from the cafe from around the corner, a couple of trucks rumble into town with deliveries. An older couple walks by, and there are mutual sunny greets of “Grüss Gott”. The church steeple glows yellow at this hour, and it’s easy to imagine with its bell the church is an aural and visual beacon for miles.

I’m drawn to the church because that was always the plan, to look for someone who’s buried in the church cemetery. Ordered rows of headstones lie as you would expect, but by the northwest gate, I find a single plaque on the bordering stone wall. The plaque reads: “Erwin Schrödinger, Nobelpreis für Physik, 1933”, and next to the plaque is Erwin and Annemarie Schrödinger’s final resting spot%. Another academic pilgrimage completed.

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Nobel-Rondell, Nobel Rondel, Nobel Prize, Stadtfriedhof, Göttingen, Niedersachsen, Lower Saxony, Germany, fotoeins.com

Göttingen: a circle of Nobel Prize winning scientists

What: Circular feature celebrating Nobel Prize winners, all of whom worked at the city’s university.
Where: Stadtfriedhof (city cemetery) in Göttingen.

Göttingen is a university town in central Germany. Not only will I find a memorial to Nobel Prizes, I’m here also to acknowledge my academic training. I spent many years studying physics and astronomy, and while I’m no longer active in science research, I enjoy the search and discovery of the final resting spots for scientists whose work formed a significant part of my education. Visiting their graves provides direct historical connection to “academic predecessors”; to go beyond the abstraction of simply learning their names and contributions to science, the gravestones belong to real people with keen minds, family lives, and all too human imperfections.

45 Nobel Prize laureates have been or are connected with the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen as of posting (2018). That’s a phenomenal number, as this single institution accounts for 8 per cent of all Nobel Prizes (585 as of 2017).


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