Josef Stefan

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Stefan, Josef


Born Mar. 24,1835, in St. Peter, near the city of Klagenfurt; died Jan. 7, 1893, in Vienna. Austrian physicist. Member of the Vienna Academy of Sciences (1865).

Stefan studied at the University of Vienna from 1853 to 1858. He became an instructor in a private Realschule in Vienna in 1858 and a professor at the University of Vienna in 1863.

In 1879, Stefan showed experimentally that the energy radiated by a heated body is proportional to the fourth power of the body’s absolute temperature (the Stefan-Boltzmann law). Stefan also worked in such areas as optics, the physics of heat, capillarity, diffusion, and electromagnetic phenomena.


Suess, E. “Mit Nekrologen und Porträts von: I. Stefan.” Almanachder kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1893, vol. 43, pp. 252–57.
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AAAI gratefully acknowledges the generous contributions of AI Journal, the Josef Stefan Institute and VideoLectures.
From 1961 to 1978 he served as the head of the Digital Engineering Department and from 1968 to 1978 also as a head of Electronics division of Josef Stefan Institute.
An Austrian physicist, Josef Stefan (1835-1893), was particularly interested in how hot bodies cooled and, therefore, in how much radiation they emitted.