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František Josef Gerstner

František Josef Gerstner Czech physicist and mathematician

Czech physicist and mathematician
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Czech physicist and mathematician
Was Scientist Physicist Mathematician Astronomer Engineer
From Czech Republic
Type Engineering Mathematics Science
Gender male
Birth 23 February 1756, Chomutov
Death 25 July 1832, Mladějov (aged 76 years)
Family
Children: Franz Anton von Gerstner
The details
Biography

František Josef Gerstner (German: Franz Josef von Gerstner, Czech: František Josef Gerstner; February 23, 1756 – July 25, 1832) was a Bohemian physicist and engineer.

Life

Gerstner was born in Chomutov, where he studied at the Jesuits gymnasium, after which he studied mathematics and astronomy at the Faculty of Philosophy in Prague between 1772 and 1777. In 1781, he started to study medicine at the University of Vienna, but quickly decided to work in the astronomical observatory instead. In 1789, he became professor of mathematics there.

In 1795, Gerstner became a member of the government commission which tried to improve higher technical education in the Austrian empire. Following his suggestion, the old Prague engineering school Česká stavovská inženýrská škola was converted to a polytechnic school in 1803. Gerstner became director of the polytechnic in 1806 and also professor of mechanics and hydraulics. He taught there until 1823, when he was forced to stop due to an illness. The polytechnic still exists today as the Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT), and the institute for artificial intelligence and cybernetics research at ČVUT bears the name Gerstner Laboratory. He died, aged 76, in Mladějov.

Work

From his published works, the most important ones were Theory of waves (1804) and Handbuch der Mechanik (1831; Handbook of mechanics). This last book appeared in three volumes, with 1400 subscribers.

His work focused on applied mechanics, hydrodynamics and river transportation. He helped to build the first iron works and first steam engine in Czech lands. In 1807, he suggested the construction of a horse-drawn railway between České Budějovice and Linz. This railway was later actually built between 1827 and 1829 by his son František Antonín Gerstner (German: Franz Anton (Ritter) von Gerstner, 1796, Prague - 1840, Philadelphia (de)).

The so-called Gerstner wave is the trochoidal wave solution for periodic water waves – the first correct and nonlinear theory of water waves in deep water, appearing even before the first correct linearised theory – published by Gerstner in 1802.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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