Shiller, Nikolai Nikolaevich

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shiller, Nikolai Nikolaevich


Born Mar. 1 (13), 1848, in Moscow; died Nov. 10 (23), 1910, in St. Petersburg. Russian physicist.

After graduating from Moscow University in 1868, Shiller continued to work there. In 1871 he was sent to Berlin, where he worked under the direction of H. von Helmholtz on the measurement of the dielectric constants ε of various substances by a method that he proposed in order to verify Maxwell’s relation ε = n2, where n is the refractive index of the medium. In 1876 he became a professor at the University of Kiev. Beginning in 1903, he was director of the Kharkov Technological Institute.

In 1876, Shiller experimentally proved that an electric current always follows a closed path. In 1900 he formulated, as a corollary to the second law of thermodynamics, a principle stating that it is impossible to attain a continuously decreasing or increasing temperature with a closed adiabatic process (a similar formulation was proposed by the German scientist C. Carathéodory in 1909).


Rusakov V. P. “Printsip N. N. Shillera.” Uspekhi fizicheskikh nouk. 1953, vol. 49, issue 1.
Kosonogov I. “Nikolai Nikolaevich Shiller.” Zhurnal Russkogo Fiziko-khimicheskogo obshchestva: Fizicheskii otdel, 1911, vol. 43, issue 9. (Contains references.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.