Person: Neumann, Franz
Franz Neumann worked on crystallography and other physical applications of mathematics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Franz Neumann studied in Berlin Gymnasium where he showed some talent for mathematics.
- In 1814, at the age of sixteen, Neumann left the Gymnasium and volunteered for the Prussian army.
- The allied armies began to assemble on the borders of France, and Neumann was with the Prussian forces.
- Neumann took part in the battle, was seriously wounded, and was taken to a hospital in Düsseldorf.
- Despite the financial problems, Neumann returned to the Berlin Gymnasium to complete his course and entered the University of Berlin in 1817.
- Neumann moved from the University of Berlin to continue his studies at Jena in April 1818.
- He became friendly with one of his teachers at Jena, Christian Weiss, and Weiss arranged for some financial support to allow Neumann to make field trips to Silesia to study geology.
- Taking a year out to manage the farm did not stop Neumann writing his first paper on crystallography which was published in 1823.
- Neumann obtained his doctorate in November 1825, and in the following May, together with Jacobi, he was appointed as a Privatdozent at the University of Königsberg.
- In 1828 Neumann was appointed as a lecturer at Königsberg, being appointed to the chair of minerology and physics in the following year.
- When Neumann arrived in Königsberg the science courses were being taught by Karl Hagen, and Neumann took over teaching some of these courses.
- At Königsberg in 1833, Neumann and Jacobi together started up a mathematics-physics seminar which was used to introduce their students to methods of research.
- One such student was Kirchhoff who attended the Neumann-Jacobi seminar from 1843 to 1846.
- In 1847 Neumann came into money through an inheritance from his second wife's parents.
- He had tried for years to persuade the university authorities to build a Physics Institute but, only after Neumann retired was the Physics Institute built.
- Neumann's early work was in crystallography.
- In 1832 Neumann investigated the wave theory of light, obtaining results similar to those of Cauchy and Fresnel.
- He also discovered the Neumann lines, now named after him, thin straight scratches that appear when some iron meteorites are cut open and the exposed surface polished.
- Neumann only published a fraction of his work, and major portions of his discoveries were contained in his lectures at Königsberg but never published.
Born 11 September 1798, Joachimsthal, Germany (now Jachymov, Czech Republic). Died 23 May 1895, Königsberg, Germany (now Kaliningrad, Russia).
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Origin Czech Republic
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