Born on February 22, 1857 in Hamburg, Germany, Hertz came from a wealthy, educated and incredibly successful family. His father, Gustav Ferdinand Hertz, was a lawyer and later a senator. He developed interest for science and mathematics as a child while studying at the Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums of Hamburg. He studied sciences andengineering in the German cities of Dresden,Munich and Berlin under two eminent physicists, Gustav R. Kirchhoff and Hermann von Helmholtz.
Hertz earned his PhD from the University of Berlin in 1880 and worked as an assistant to Helmhotz. Though he devoted his thesis to the nature of electromagnetic induction in rotating conductors, his research as Helmholtz’s assistant focused on mechanical hardness and stress, a field in which he wrote anumber of influential papers. In 1883, Hertz took up the chance to move up a step on the academic ladder. He moved to the University of Kiel as a Lecturer, where he continued his research on electromagnetism. From 1885 to 1889 he served as a professor of physics at the technical school in Karlsruhe and after 1889 held the same post atthe University in Bonn.
During 1886, he married Elizabeth Doll,daughter of his colleague Dr. Max Doll. They had two daughters, Joanna and Mathilde.
When Hertz began conducting experiments at the University of Bonn, he was aware of the revolutionary work that was left behind by British scientist James Clerk Maxwell, who had produced a series of mathematical equations that predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves. This challengedexperimentalists to produce and detect electromagnetic radiation using some form of electrical apparatus.
Hertz took up that challenge and in 1887 confirmed Maxwell’s theories about the existence of electromagnetic radiation. He proved that electricitycan be transmitted in electromagnetic waves, which travel at the speed of light and possess many other properties of light.
While carrying outhis experiment on electromagnetic waves, Hertz also accidentally discovered the photoelectric effect in which light falling on special surfaces can generate electricity.
Apart from the electromagnetic or electric waves (“Hertzian waves”), Hertz also showed that their velocity and length could be measured and that light and heat are electromagnetic waves.
During 1892, Hertz was diagnosed withfirst a head cold and then an allergy. Since then his health remained poor. He died of blood poisoning at the age of 36 in Bonn, Germany on January 1, 1894, and was buried in Ohlsdorf, Hamburg.
Christian Huygens was a mathematician, physicist and astronomer who formulated the wave theory of light. He also discovered the pendulum clock, centrifugal force and the true shapeof the rings of Saturn (as well as its moon, Titan). Huygens is credited as the first theoretical physicist to use formulae in physics.
Early Life and Education:
Born in 1629 to a poet father, Constantine Huygens, who also worked for the Princes of Orange, Christian Huygens studied law in Leiden and Brenda. He soon found out that he was more interested in mathematics, physics and astronomy. As akid, Huygens loved to experiment with windmills and other machines and to watch the ripples produced by throwing a stone into water.
Huygens was already in contact with leading scholars of the time, even at an early age. Mersenne, the famous French polymath, wrote to his father that his child had the potential to “even surpass Archimedes”.
Contributions and Achievements:
Christian Huygens mademany extraordinary contributions in diverse fields. His efforts in mathematics included his work regarding squaring the circle. When it came to physics, in addition to his landmark Huygens–Fresnel principle, he extensively researched free fall, pendulum motion and the pendulum clock. Huygens also improved sea clocks, which proved to be very helpful in finding out the position of ships at sea.