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date: 02 March 2021

Ohm, Georg Simonlocked

  • James F. Bell
  • , revised by Murray Campbell


(b Erlangen, March 16, 1789; d Munich, July 6, 1854). German scientist. He studied mathematics at the University of Erlangen, taking a degree in 1811. He spent the rest of his life in a series of undistinguished posts, teaching mathematics and later physics at a relatively elementary level, apart from a period (1833–49) as professor of physics and rector of the Polytechnic Institute at Nuremberg. Among his writings is the paper of 1827 which contained the famous Ohm’s Law of Electricity, which however was little recognized at the time. His contribution to music is contained in two papers (published in Annalen der Physik uns Chemie, 1843 and 1844) in which he presented what became known as Ohm’s Law of Acoustics: he suggested that musical sounds depended not on phase but on the distribution of energies among the harmonics. His research stimulated Helmholtz’s important experiments in the 1850s and 1860s, and dominated the conception of the subject for a century. Ohm’s place in musical acoustics, although less publicized, is as secure as his place in electromagnetic theory....

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