Weber, Wilhelm Eduard

Weber, Wilhelm Eduard

▪ German physicist
born Oct. 24, 1804, Wittenberg, Ger.
died June 23, 1891, Göttingen

      German physicist who, with his friend Carl Friedrich Gauss (Gauss, Carl Friedrich), investigated terrestrial magnetism and in 1833 devised an electromagnetic telegraph. The magnetic unit, termed a weber, formerly the coulomb, is named after him.

      Weber was educated at Halle and later at Göttingen, where he was appointed professor of physics in 1831. He was professor at the University of Leipzig from 1843 to 1849, and he then returned to Göttingen and became director of the astronomical observatory there. He played an important role in the development of electrical science, particularly by his work to establish a system of absolute electrical units. Gauss had introduced a logical arrangement of units for magnetism involving the basic units of mass, length, and time. Weber repeated this for electricity in 1846. Occasionally he collaborated with his brothers, the physiologists Ernst Heinrich Weber (1795–1878) and Eduard Friedrich Weber (1806–71). During his final years at Göttingen, Weber studied electrodynamics and the electrical structure of matter.

      He received many honours from England, France, and Germany, among which were the title of Geheimrat (privy councillor) and the Copley Medal of the Royal Society. Many of his extensive articles are in the six volumes of Resultate aus den Beobachtungen des magnetischen Vereins (1837–43), edited by himself and Gauss.

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Universalium. 2010.

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