Person: Wiener, Christian
Christian Wiener was a German mathematician, physicist and philosopher. He was the first person to identify qualitatively the molecular cause of Brownian motion.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Darmstadt had become a grand duchy in 1806 and, at the time Christian was born twenty years later, it was undergoing a period of rapid building of a new town under the first grand duke Ludwig I.
- Christian attended the Gymnasium in Darmstadt, completing his studies in 1843.
- (It was called the Höhere Gewerbeschule at that time.) While teaching at the Höhere Gewerbeschule, Wiener was studying for his doctorate and he submitted his thesis Bestimmte Lösung der Aufgabe über die Vertheilung eines Drucks auf mehr als drei Stützpunkte Ⓣ(Certain solution of the problem on the distribution of pressure on more than three points) on mechanics of particles and systems to the Justus-Liebig University of Giessen in 1850.
- However, Wiener had ambitions to further his education and went to Karlsruhe where he studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University under Ferdinand Redtenbacher for a year.
- Christian Wiener remained at the Technische Hochschule of Karlsruhe for the rest of his life, being three times elected as rector of the university.
- The state of Baden had seen a revolution led by Friedrich Hecker and Gustav von Struve four years before Wiener arrived at the capital Karlsruhe.
- Wiener served the state of Baden in a number of ways, in particular as Oberschulrat.
- In Baden, public education was directed by the state and, as Oberschulrat, Wiener was head of the Educational Council.
- Wiener worked on mathematics, physics, and philosophy.
- Wiener extended work on descriptive geometry to physics and calculated the amount of solar radiation received at different latitudes during the varying lengths of days in the course of the year.
- Wiener was a skilled experimenter who was able to conduct experiments so that he obtained results which were remarkably accurate.
- Although Wiener wrote quite a number of works on philosophy, these did not have the impact of his mathematical and physical works.
- As one might expect from an eminent scientist, Wiener defended scientific research against the opinions of many at that time who saw it as being a danger to morality.
- At Clebsch's suggestion Wiener constructed plaster of Paris models of mathematical surfaces which were exhibited in London, Munich and Chicago.
- As a final comment on Wiener, let us mention that there is a manoeuvre in the game of Mornington Crescent called the "Wiener" manoeuvre.
- The manoeuvre was named after Wiener by Minski who read his book Lehrbuch der darstellenden Geometrie Ⓣ(Textbook of descriptive geometry) and applied the patterns described in the text to the game of Mornington Crescent.
Born 7 December 1826, Darmstadt, Germany. Died 31 July 1896, Karlsruhe, Germany.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Algebra, Architecture, Geometry, Origin Germany
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive