Erich Regener

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Erich Regener in May 1929

Erich Rudolph Alexander Regener (born November 12, 1881 in Schleusenau near Bromberg , West Prussia , † February 27, 1955 in Stuttgart ) was a German physicist and solar researcher .


Erich Regener studied physics at the University of Berlin from 1900 to 1905 . He was a student of Heinrich Rubens and attended lectures by Paul Drude , Hans Heinrich Landolt and Max Planck . In 1905 he received his doctorate with a work inspired by Emil Warburg on the influence of short-wave radiation on the oxygen - ozone balance in the atmosphere and remained as a private lecturer at the University of Berlin. With the determination of the electrical elementary charge by counting alpha particles with the help of a scintillation method he had developed , he received his habilitation in 1909. In the following 15 years he repeatedly dealt with the subelectron hypothesis, which seemed to be supported by Felix Ehrenhaft's experiments . In the end, however, he ruled out the existence of charges smaller than the elementary charge.

In 1914, Regener was appointed to the chair of physics at the Agricultural University in Berlin as the successor to Richard Börnstein . During the First World War he was employed as a "field X-ray mechanic". In 1920 he became a full professor at the Technical University of Stuttgart . From the second half of the 1920s, Regener dealt intensively with the cosmic radiation discovered by Victor Franz Hess in 1912 , then called penetrating cosmic radiation . To do this, he sunk automatically registering ionization chambers in Lake Constance or let them soar into the stratosphere on a balloon up to a height of 24 km .

In 1929 Hans Hellmann received his doctorate from Regener with a thesis on ozone decay. Regener himself followed up on his own early work and began investigating the dependence of the ozone layer on altitude . With his son, the physicist Victor H. Regener (1913-2006), he developed a recording spectrograph. By unmanned balloon ascents with this instrument up to a height of more than 30 km they measured the UV spectrum of the sun in two spectral ranges in 1934 and determined the vertical ozone distribution in the atmosphere. During further balloon ascents, Regener examined the oxygen and water vapor content in the stratosphere in the following years.

In the fall of 1937 Regener was based on the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service in the active status are added and removed from his post as a university lecturer and director of the Physics Institute of the Technical University of Stuttgart. His wife Gertrud, née Heiter, had Jewish ancestors, and Regener was also politically unpopular with the National Socialists . With the support of his pupil Alfred Ehmert and two other scholarship holders from the German Research Foundation, as well as financial support from the Reich Ministry of Aviation , he then founded the private research center for physics of the stratosphere on January 1, 1938 in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance , which was transferred to Kaiser Wilhelm on May 30, 1938 -Society was incorporated. After the institute was destroyed in an Allied air raid in 1944, Regener continued his research work in a provisional facility in Weißenau near Ravensburg , which in 1952 became the Max Planck Institute for Stratospheric Physics. This institute is one of the two roots of today's Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research .

Regener's research on the stratosphere was also of interest to the rocket engineers around Wernher von Braun . In order to be able to calculate the trajectory of the missiles, precise data was required. In a joint project with the Heeresversuchsanstalt in Peenemünde , Regener developed new instruments that were supposed to be transported to a height of 50 km with an A4 rocket . There the instrument capsule called the " Regener-Tonne " was supposed to be blown off and returned to earth on a parachute. Until the end of the war, however, there was only one successful test flight with a dummy of the Regener bin.

From 1945 to 1951 Regener occupied his chair in Stuttgart again. In 1948 he became Vice President of the Max Planck Society .

Regener had been a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina since 1934, a corresponding member of the Heidelberg University since 1950 and of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences since 1955 . In 1951 he became a Fellow of the American Physical Society .

2.8 K radiation

Regener calculated a cosmic microwave background radiation of 2.8 K as early as 1933.


  • On the chemical effects of short-wave radiation on gaseous bodies , dissertation, Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Berlin, Aug. 12, 1905
  • About cathode, x-ray and radium rays , speech, go into d. Kgl. Agricultural University in Berlin on Jan. 26, 1915. Berlin; Vienna: Urban & Schwarzenberg, 1915
  • About the cause which simulates the existence of a subelectron in the experiments of Mr. F. Ehrenhaft , Berlin 1920 (session report of the Preuss. Academy of the Sciences. Phys.-math. Kl. 1920)
  • The energy flow of ultra radiation. in: Journal of Physics. 80, 9–10, 1933, pp. 666–669 (166 kB,
  • Recordings of the ultraviolet solar spectrum in the stratosphere and vertical ozone distribution , (with VH Regener) in: Phys. Z. 35, 1934, pp. 788-793
  • About balloons with a high rate of rise, thermographs of low inertia, quartz barographs and about the condensation and sublimation of water vapor at low temperatures , Munich; Berlin: Oldenbourg, 1941 (publications of the German Academy of Aviation Research 37)
  • Structure and composition of the stratosphere , Munich; Berlin: Oldenbourg, 1941 (publications of the German Academy of Aviation Research 46)
  • Optical interference on thin layers of ice condensed at 190 ° C , 1954


Web links


  1. APS Fellow Archive. Fellows 1951. American Physical Society, accessed December 16, 2015 .
  2. ^ ACT Assis, MCD Neves: History of the 2.7 K Temperature Prior to Penzias and Wilson. (PDF 94.4 kB) ; "AKT Assis and MCD Neves. "Redshift revisited," Astrophysics and Space Science . 227: 13-24, May 1995. “According to translation: Assis / Uebersetzung_Astrophys-Space.pdf ; Paul A. LaViolette: Genesis of the Cosmos. Rochester, Vermont 1995, pp. 295/296 ; Helge Kragh: Cosmology and Controversy. Princeton 1999, p. 132