Hermann von Helmholtz was a German doctor and physicist who is best known for coming up with the idea that energy stays the same. He was a very versatile person who made important contributions to physiology, psychology, electrodynamics, and chemical thermodynamics, among other areas of modern science. He was also a well-respected philosopher who was known for his ideas about the laws of nature and the science of beauty. Helmholtz was the son of a teacher, so he became interested in natural sciences at a young age. His father also passed on a love of philosophy to him. The family knew the well-known philosopher Immanuel Hermann Fichte, and he had a big impact on the young boy. Helmholtz was smart and interested in a lot of different things from a very young age. As a young man, his father told him to study medicine, and he mostly learned about physiology. He worked as a doctor in the army for a few years before becoming a professor. He started doing research when he was a doctor in the army, and he never stopped doing science research for the rest of his life. He started out as a doctor, but later made important contributions to physiology, optics, electrodynamics, mathematics, and meteorology, among other areas of science.
Early years and childhood
Hermann von Helmholtz was born in Potsdam, Kingdom of Prussia, on August 31, 1821. He was the oldest of Ferdinand Helmholtz’s four children. His father was a teacher at the Potsdam Gymnasium. He taught philosophy and literature.
He grew up in a place that was good for his mind, and his father taught him classical languages as well as French, English, and Italian. His father was good friends with the philosopher Immanuel Hermann Fichte, and he taught the boy about the ideas of Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottlieb Fichte. His upbringing had a big impact on how he came to think about things.
Helmholtz went to the Potsdam Gymnasium for his primary education and wanted to study natural science. But his father didn’t have enough money to send him to college, so he told him to study medicine instead since the government pays for medical students.
He got a grant from the government to study at the Königlich Medizinisch-chirurgische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Institut in Berlin for five years. In exchange, he had to agree to work as an army doctor for eight years. He studied clinical medicine with Lucas Schonlein and physiology with Johannes Müller at the institute.
He also took chemistry classes and read the mathematical and philosophical works of Laplace, Biot, and Daniel Bernoulli on his own time. He met Ernst Brücke and Emil du Bois-Reymond, two of Johannes Muller’s other students, while he was working on his dissertation. In 1843, he got his degree as a doctor.
Hermann Von’s Career
After he graduated, the army put him in charge of the regiment in Potsdam as a doctor. He didn’t have many army duties, so he had a lot of time to do his research. He was interested in a lot of different things, and his job gave him enough free time to do so.
In 1847, Hermann von Helmholtz published his theories in a book called “Über die Erhaltung der Kraft.” This was the first important scientific work he did (On the Conservation of Force). He got ideas for his research from what Sadi Carnot, Émile Clapeyron, and James Prescott Joule had already done.
In 1848, he became an assistant at the Anatomical Museum and a teacher at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts. The very next year, he moved to Konigsberg, in East Prussia, to become an assistant professor and director of the Physiological Institute.
Helmholtz measured the speed at which a signal moves along a nerve fiber in 1849. He was working in Königsberg at the time. He did the experiment with the sciatic nerve of a frog that had just been cut open and the calf muscle to which it was attached. He used a galvanometer as a sensitive timer. He said that the speeds of transmission were between 24.6 and 38.4 meters per second.
He was also a great inventor. In 1851, he made the ophthalmoscope, which changed the field of eye care. The tool he made could be used to look at the inside of a person’s eye. This invention turned out to be very popular, which brought him a lot of fame and praise.
He taught anatomy and physiology at the University of Bonn from 1855 to 1858. In 1858, he moved to the University of Heidelberg to teach physiology.
He was also very interested in physics. In 1863, he wrote a book called “On the Sensations of Tone.” People who study music say that the book had an effect on them well into the 20th century. During this time, one of his many inventions was the Helmholtz resonator, which could figure out the different frequencies or pitches of the pure sine wave parts of sounds with more than one tone.
Gustav Magnus, who taught physics in Berlin, died in 1870. Helmholtz was offered the job, and in 1871, he took it. He now paid more attention to electromagnetism and theories of how electricity works. In the years that followed, he wrote a number of papers about the galvanic cell, the thermodynamics of chemical processes, and weather.
By the 1880s, he was one of the most well-known scientists in Germany and the country’s most important scientific advisor. Helmholtz was made president of the newly created Physikalisch-technische Reichsanstalt in 1887. This organization did research in exact sciences and precise technology.
Works of note
His work on the law of conservation of energy was one of the most important things he did for science. He was influenced by the work of Joule, Sadi Carnot, and Émile Clapeyron, and he came to the same conclusions as Grove. In 1847, he wrote a book called “Über die Erhaltung der Kraft” (On the Conservation of Force) about what he had learned.
He changed the field of ophthalmology by making the ophthalmoscope, a tool that lets a doctor look inside the eye and see the fundus and other structures. The device is used a lot to find out how healthy the retina, optic disc, and vitreous humor are.
Awards & Achievements
In 1884, the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland gave Helmholtz the title of Honorary Member.
In his honor, the Helmholtz Association, which is Germany’s largest group of research institutions, is named.
Personal History and Legacies
Hermann von Helmholtz married Olga von Velten, the daughter of a surgeon, on 26 August 1849. There were two kids in the family. His wife’s health was not good, and she died on December 28, 1859, leaving Helmholtz to take care of their young children.
In 1861, he married Anna von Mohl, who was the daughter of Robert von Mohl, a professor at Heidelberg. This marriage led to the birth of three more kids. Anna was a pretty woman who was a long time younger than Helmholtz.
In his later years, Hermann von Helmholtz was sick and went through bouts of depression. He died on September 8, 1894.
Estimated Net worth
Hermann Von Helmholtz’s estimated net worth is $2 million. He made most of his money as an anatomist, music theorist, ophthalmologist, psychologist, philosopher, biophysicist, musicologist, university teacher, physiologist, and physicist. We don’t know enough about Hermann Von Helmholtz’s cars or about his way of life.