◀ ▲ ▶History / 18th-century / Person: Aepinus, Franz Maria Ulrich Theodosius
Person: Aepinus, Franz Maria Ulrich Theodosius
Franz Aepinus was a German scientist who did important work on electricity and magnetism.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Aepinus studied medicine and mathematics at the universities of Jena and Rostock.
- If Franz had a major effect on Wilcke's career, then the reverse was true a few years later when Wilcke was to suggest problems which led to the most important work of Aepinus's career.
- In 1755 Aepinus became director of the Observatory in Berlin and he was elected to the Berlin Academy.
- Director of a major observatory may seem a strange appointment given that Aepinus's mathematical interests seemed far removed from astronomy.
- Euler was working at the Berlin Academy during the time that Aepinus worked there, and in fact Aepinus lived in Euler's house for the two years that he was in Berlin.
- Although Aepinus did not make contributions to astronomy while in Berlin, he did his most important work there.
- Wilcke had moved to Berlin with Aepinus and was writing a dissertation on electricity.
- Wilcke showed Aepinus the mineral tourmaline, a borosilicate mineral often used as a gem.
- Aepinus studied the state of electrical polarisation produced in tourmaline and various other crystals by a change of temperature.
- The electrical properties of the tourmaline seemed to Aepinus to be similar to those of a magnet and he began to believe that electricity and magnetism were analogous.
- Aepinus's study of electricity and magnetism led to the publication of his book Tentamen theoriae electricitatis et magnetismi Ⓣ(Attempt at a theory of electricity and magnetism) in 1759.
- Before this work was published, however, Aepinus had moved to St Petersburg.
- Euler supported his request to Frederick and by early 1757 Frederick had agreed that Aepinus could end his duties in Berlin and accept the appointment in St Petersburg.
- Aepinus was to continue working in St Petersburg until he retired in 1798.
- Other achievements of Aepinus include improvements to the microscope, and his demonstration of the effects of parallax in the transit of a planet across the Sun's disk (1764).
- The proof given by Aepinus, however, appears not to hold.
Born 13 December 1724, Rostock, Mecklenberg-Schwerin (now Germany). Died 10 August 1802, Dorpat, Russia.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Germany
Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive