Wilhelm Eduard Weber

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Weber, Wilhelm Eduard


Born Oct. 24, 1804, in Wittenberg; died June 23, 1891, in Göttingen. German physicist. Graduated from the university at Halle in 1826. From 1827 he taught there (from 1828 as a professor). From 1831 to 1837 he was a professor at the University of Göttingen, from 1843 to 1849 professor at the University of Leipzig, and from 1849 again a professor at the University of Göttingen.

Weber’s main scientific work was in the area of the physics of electrical and magnetic phenomena. He developed an absolute system of electrical and magnetic units. He theoretically deduced the law of interaction of moving charges, first introducing the dependence not only upon the size and sign of the charge but also on the relative speed of its displacements. However, the theory on which he relied allowed the existence of a force that acts instantaneously over a distance and ignored the role of the medium in the transmission of the interaction. Weber was one of the authors of a hypothesis about the discreteness of electrical charge and the electrical structure of matter. In 1856, along with F. Kohlrausch, Weber defined the ratio of the charge of a capacitor in electrostatic and magnetic units and was the first to discover that it is numerically equal to the speed of light. Together with K. F. Gauss, Weber took part in the development of methods and apparatus for geometric measurements ; he also built the first telegraph in Germany (1833).


Werke, vols. 1-6. Berlin, 1892-94.