1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kundt, August Adolph Eduard Eberhard

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 15
Kundt, August Adolph Eduard Eberhard
See also August Kundt on Wikipedia; and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.

KUNDT, AUGUST ADOLPH EDUARD EBERHARD (1839-1894), German physicist, was born at Schwerin in Mecklenburg on the 18th of November 1839. He began his scientific studies at Leipzig, but afterwards went to Berlin. At first he devoted himself to astronomy, but coming under the influence of H. G. Magnus, he turned his attention to physics, and graduated in 1864 with a thesis on the depolarization of light. In 1867 he became privatdozent in Berlin University, and in the following year was chosen professor of physics at the Zürich Polytechnic; then, after a year or two at Würtzburg, he was called in 1872 to Strassburg, where he took a great part in the organization of the new university, and was largely concerned in the erection of the Physical Institute. Finally in 1888 he went to Berlin as successor to H. von Helmholtz in the chair of experimental physics and directorship of the Berlin Physical Institute. He died after a protracted illness at Israelsdorf, near Lübeck, on the 21st of May 1894. As an original worker Kundt was especially successful in the domains of sound and light. In the former he developed a valuable method for the investigation of aerial waves within pipes, based on the fact that a finely divided powder—lycopodium, for example—when dusted over the interior of a tube in which is established a vibrating column of air, tends to collect in heaps at the nodes, the distance between which can thus be ascertained. An extension of the method renders possible the determination of the velocity of sound in different gases. In light Kundt's name is widely known for his inquiries in anomalous dispersin, not only in liquids and vapours, but even in metals, which he obtained in very thin films by means of a laborious process of electrolytic deposition upon platinized glass. He also carried out many experiments in magneto-optics, and succeeded in showing, what Faraday had failed to detect, the rotation under the influence of magnetic force of the plane of polarization in certain gases and vapours.