Ernst Mach 1838
From Belgrade's Institute of Physics
Austrian physicist and philosopher who established important
principles of optics, mechanics, and wave dynamics and who supported the
view that all knowledge is a conceptual organization of the data of
sensory experience (or observation).
Mach was educated at home until the age of 14, then went briefly to
gymnasium (high school) before entering the University of Vienna at 17.
He received his doctorate in physics in 1860 and taught mechanics and
physics in Vienna until 1864, when he became professor of mathematics at
the University of Graz. Mach's interests had already begun to turn to
the psychology and physiology of sensation, although he continued to
identify himself as a physicist and to conduct physical research
throughout his career. During the 1860s he discovered the physiological
phenomenon that has come to be called Mach's bands, the tendency of the
human eye to see bright or dark bands near the boundaries between areas
of sharply differing illumination....
From the University of Texas
Journal of Heat Transfer.
Working as both an Austrian physicist and philosopher, Ernst Mach's
work had a great influence on 20th-century thought, both in physics and
in philosophy. He was born on February 18, 1838, at Turas in Moravia and
educated in Wien. He was a Professor of Physics at Graz from 1864 -1867,
at Prague from 1867-1895, and Professor of Inductive Philosophy at Wien
from 1895-1901. He was made a member of the Austrian House of Peers in
1901 and died at Munchen on February 19, 1916.
Mach was a thorough-going positivist and took the view, which most
scientists now share, that no statement is admissible in natural science
unless it is empirically verifiable....
From the Cosmic
Mach was the first person to realize that if matter traveling through
the air moved faster than the speed of sound it drastically altered the
quality of the space in which it moved. Mach gave his name to the Mach
Number, which expresses the speed of matter relative to the speed of
sound at a certain temperature. When supersonic planes travel today,
their speed is measured in terms that keep Mach's name alive....