Arnold Sommerfeld

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sommerfeld, Arnold


Born Dec. 5, 1868, in Königsberg; died Apr. 26, 1951, in Munich. German physicist and mathematician.

Sommerfeld graduated from the University of Königsberg in 1891. He was a professor of mathematics at the Clausthal Mining Academy from 1897, at the Technische Hochschule in Aachen from 1900, and at the University of Munich from 1906. His most important works were on atomic theory, the theory of metals, and mathematical physics. He perfected the Bohr model of the atom, proposing a more general formulation of the quantum conditions that permitted not only circular but also elliptical orbits. Consideration of the dependence of mass on velocity made it possible to formulate the theory of the fine structure of hydrogen-like atoms (1916). Applying the Pauli exclusion principle to the electron gas in metals, Sommerfeld gave a more accurate formula for the Wiedemann-Franz law and explained a number of phenomena in metals—Joule heat, thermoelectric effects, and so forth (1928). He created a rigorous mathematical theory of diffraction (1895), obtained an integral representation of Bessel functions (the Sommerfeld integral; 1896), solved the problem of the radiation of a vertical dipole placed on the boundary between two media (1909), made a substantial contribution in the study of X rays, and worked out a theory of bremsstrahlung of electrons (1931).


TheoriedesKreisels, vols. 1–3. Leipzig, 1897–1903. (With F. Klein.)
In Russian translation:
Elektronnaia teoriia metallov. Leningrad-Moscow, 1938. (With H. Bethe.)
Mekhanika. Moscow, 1947.
Differentsial’ nye uravneniia v chastnykh proizvodnykh fiziki. Moscow, 1950.
Mekhanika deformiruemykh sred. Moscow, 1954.
Optika. Moscow, 1953.
Termodinamika i statisticheskaia fizika. Moscow, 1955.
Elektrodinamika. Moscow, 1958.
Stroenie atoma i spektry, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1956.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
One of the first such examples has been described by Arnold Sommerfeld in 1902 [28], by studying the oscillations caused by a motor driving an unbalanced weight and discovered the resonance capture, which is called "Sommerfeld effect." This phenomenon represents the failure of a rotating mechanical system to be spun up by a torque-limited rotor to a desired rotational velocity due to its resonant interaction with another part of the system [29, 30].
Eckert, Arnold Sommerfeld: Science, Life and Turbulent Times 1868-1951, Springer, New York, NY, USA, 2013.
He was a student of Arnold Sommerfeld, a mathematical physicist whose interests ranged from hydrodynamics to theory of electrical conduction, both fields of study with military implications.
His graduate research professor, Arnold Sommerfeld, was a lecturer so respected that even Einstein wished to attend to perfect his "mathematical-physical knowledge" (p.
Crafting the Quantum: Arnold Sommerfeld and the Practice of Theory, 1890-1926, by Suman Seth.
The stories pertain to thermodynamics, time and space, the Theory of Relativity, the hydrogen atom, the Old Quantum Theory, matrix mechanics, and quantum mechanics, and physicists like Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrodinger, Niels Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, and Arnold Sommerfeld. This edition has been revised to include a new prologue, epilogue, glossary, and chronology, and has photos and additional quotes and anecdotes.
In living up to its title, the book provides a chapter-length treatment of Arnold Sommerfeld and an extended discussion of the achievement of Edward Teller.