- Mini Bio
- Name: Gustav Robert Kirchhoff
- Born: 12th March 1824, Königsberg, Kingdom of Prussia
- Died: 17th October 1887, Berlin, Prussia, German Empire
- Resting place: St Matthäus Kirchhof Cemetery, Schöneberg, Berlin Germany
- Alma Mater: University of Königsberg
- Occupation: Physicist
- Famous for: He gave major contributions to understanding electrical circuits, spectroscopy, and the emission of black-body radiation
- Trivia: Kirchhoff's circuit laws are named after him
"Look here, I have succeeded at last in fetching some gold from the sun"Gustav Kirchhoff
"If we were acquainted with all the forces of nature and knew what is the state of matter at a certain moment of time, we should be able to deduce by means of mechanics its state at every subsequent moment"Gustav Kirchhoff
"We shall never attain the goal of the natural sciences, but even the fact that it is recognized as such offers a certain satisfaction, and in approximating to it lies the highest pleasure"Gustav Kirchhoff
"The highest goal the natural sciences must strive to attain is the realization of the just mentioned supposition, … viz, the reduction of all natural phenomena to mechanics"Gustav Kirchhoff
"Mechanics is a twin sister of geometry; both sciences are applications of pure mathematics; the propositions of both, as to their certainty, stand on the same level"Gustav Kirchhoff
"That there are such limits to our knowledge of nature, must be borne with patience by every sound mind whether he be a scientist or a workman"Gustav Kirchhoff
"There is a science called mechanics, whose object is to determine the motion of bodies when the causes that occasion them are known"Gustav Kirchhoff
"I can only advise you to leave off all impossible aspirations and trying to conceive things that are beyond conception"Gustav Kirchhoff
"Mechanics is the science of motion; its object may be stated to be to describe in the most complete and simple way the motion that takes place in nature"Gustav Kirchhoff
"Why do you want to come into physics? All is done and understood"Gustav Kirchhoff
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Gustav Kirchhoff Biography
In a career that spanned forty years Gustav Kirchhoff made many contributions to the scientific world that including validating laws in thermochemistry, spectroscopy and electrical circuitry.
His circuit laws which he started when still a student, are still in use today and they became his doctoral dissertation. In collaboration with Robert Bunsen at the University of Heidelberg, they made many new discoveries including caesium and rubidium and they created a prototype spectroscope that opened up a new field of science known as spectroscopy as they established the theory of spectrum analysis.
Using a prism they successfully split light into its component wavelengths and they furthered this research by discovering that every element gives off its own unique wavelength that can be used to positively identify its presence.
His published work included the acclaimed four volumes on Lectures on mathematical physics called "Vorlesungen über mathematische Physik" which was first published in 1876 by B. G. Teubner Verlag in Leipzig. From some of the finest scientific minds come some of the finest lines to remember, so here is my compilation of 10 of the best Gustav Kirchhoff quotes
Quotes About Gustav Kirchhoff
The scientist Robert Wilhelm Bunsen wrote in a letter dated 1859:
"At present I carry out research with Kirchhoff which does not allow us to sleep. Kirchhoff has made a completely unexpected discovery. He has found the reason for the dark lines in the spectrum of the sun and he is able to reproduce those lines... in the continuous spectrum of a flame at identical positions with the Fraunhofer lines. This has opened up the path to the determination of the chemical composition of the sun and of the fixed stars"
The physicist Robert Von Helmholtz described him thus:
"The life of Kirchhoff was that of a thinker, too. He did not travel all over the world to see nature in the splendid attire of her multifarious productions, like Humboldt or Darwin; he did not work his way to theory through a school of purely practical life, like Faraday or Siemens. No more did he pass his life in the whirlpool of historical or social events. He accomplished his work quietly in the externally serene, but internally the more active, abodes of science,—in the lecture-rooms and laboratories of several German universities"