Johann Wilhelm Hittorf

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hittorf, Johann Wilhelm


Born Mar. 27, 1824, in Bonn; died Nov. 28, 1914, in Münster. German chemist and physicist. Professor at the Münster Academy from 1852 to 1889.

In 1853-59, Hittorf established that in the electrolysis of solutions, positive and negative ions are not transported at the same rate; he called the fraction of the total amount of electricity carried by each kind of ion the transport numbers. He developed a method of determining them and measured the transport numbers of many ions. Hittorf investigated the spectra of incandescent gases (1864) and the passage of electricity through highly rarefied gases (1869-83) and observed (1869) and described the properties of cathode rays, thus initiating the study of them.


Über die Wanderungen der lonen während der Elektrolyse (1853-1859), parts 1-2. Leipzig, 1891. (Ostwald’s Klassiker der exakten Wissenschaften, nos. 21 and 23.)


Beckmann, E. “W. Hittorf.” Berichte der Deutschen chemischen Gesellschaft, 1914, vol. 47, p. 3233.
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