August Toepler

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August Toepler
August Toepler's grave in the Johannisfriedhof in Dresden.

August Joseph Ignaz Toepler (born September 7, 1836 in Brühl , † March 6, 1912 in Dresden ) was a physicist who developed the Schlieren method in photography in 1864 .

Live and act

From 1855 to 1858 he studied physics , mathematics and chemistry at the Berlin Royal Trade Institute and from 1859 worked at the Agricultural Academy in Poppelsdorf near Bonn . Toepler received his doctorate in Jena in 1860 and in 1865 received a professorship for chemistry and chemical technology at the Riga Polytechnic (today: Riga University of Technology ). From 1869 to 1875 he taught at the University of Graz as a professor of physics, where a new physical institute was built according to his plans between 1872 and 1875.

From 1876 Toepler was Professor of Physics and Director of the Physics Institute at the Dresden Polytechnic . From 1879 he was a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and a corresponding member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences , in 1885 he was admitted to the Royal Saxon Society of Sciences . Since 1896 he was a corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences . In 1900 he retired.

August Toepler died on March 6, 1912 in Dresden and was buried in the Johannisfriedhof in the Tolkewitz district .


In Dresden-Tolkewitz and in Berlin-Charlottenburg-Nord (1937) streets are named after him.

The Technical University of Dresden (today the Technical University) awarded him an honorary doctorate ( Dr.-Ing.  E. h.) In 1905 .

A portrait relief by Toepler created by Peter Pöppelmann in 1906 was rediscovered in 1982 and unveiled on the occasion of his 150th birthday in the Recknagel building (physics building) of the Technical University of Dresden .

In 1961 the Toepler building of the Technical University was named in honor of August Toepler and his son Maximilian Toepler (1870–1960) .

Scientific achievements and writings

mercury air pump
electrifying machine

Toepler devoted himself to theoretical and experimental physics. In 1862 he developed a very effective vacuum pump and in 1864 the Schlieren method for mapping the density field in a transparent medium. In 1883 Toepler constructed a magnetic balance. The constructions of more modern influenza electrification machines go back to him, since from 1865 he pushed his research on the "generation of high direct currents" and from then on regularly published his latest scientific findings and work in various specialist journals of this time. Most of his articles appeared in the Wiener Anzeiger of the Imperial Academy of Sciences (WA) , but some also in the Elektrotechnische Zeitschrift (EZ) :

  • 1874 WA: About a peculiar phenomenon on the electric spark gap
  • 1875 WA: Note on the experimental determination of diamagnetism through its electrical induction effect
  • 1877 WA: On the theory of steady electric flow in curved surfaces
  • 1877 WA: Measurements via diamagnetic induction currents (together with Albert von Ettingshausen )
  • 1880 WA, EZ: To the knowledge of the influenza machine and its performance
  • 1884 EZ: About some experiments on the question of lightning rods
  • 1892 On the excitation and observation of very rapid electrical oscillations

Also published:

  • 1885 Review of the discovery of electromagnetism and induction electricity (published in the Festschrift of the Isis Natural Science Society in Dresden to celebrate its 50th anniversary)
  • 1892 Contribution to the knowledge of the electrical oscillations with a very short period of oscillation (in the meeting reports of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences)
  • 1894 About the electrical capacitor vibrations generated with multi-plate induction machines in their application to the so-called Tesla experiments (in meeting reports and treatises of the society already mentioned)
  • 1894 experiments with the multi-plate influenza machine (for the Society of German Natural Scientists and Doctors)



Individual evidence

  1. ^ August Toepler obituary in the 1913 yearbook of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences (PDF file).
  2. ^ Dorit Petschel : 175 years of TU Dresden. Volume 3: The professors of the TU Dresden 1828–2003. Edited on behalf of the Society of Friends and Supporters of the TU Dresden e. V. von Reiner Pommerin , Böhlau, Cologne a. a. 2003, ISBN 3-412-02503-8 , p. 25 ( limited preview in the Google book search - alphabetical list of honorary doctors).
  3. Honorary doctoral students of the TH / TU Dresden. Technical University of Dresden, accessed on January 30, 2015 .