Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers
Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers (born October 11, 1758 in Arbergen near Bremen, † March 2, 1840 in Bremen ) was a German astronomer and doctor . He developed methods for determining the orbit of celestial bodies , discovered the asteroids Pallas and Vesta as well as six comets and formulated the Olbers paradox .
Family and education
Olbers was born as the eighth of sixteen children of pastor Johann Georg Olbers, who worked in Arbergen . In 1760 the father was appointed to the Bremen Cathedral and the family moved to what was then the Free Imperial City of Bremen. Olbers attended the pedagogy , the Athenaeum and, from 1771, the Illustre grammar school . In 1777 he began studying medicine at the University of Göttingen .
He was already interested in astronomy as a schoolboy and as a ten-year-old observed the Great Comet of 1769 with fascination . As a student, he also attended astronomical lectures. In 1779, during a medical internship , he devised a method for determining the orbit of a comet , which he observed through a window while caring for a patient. A year later he completed his studies with a dissertation on the human eye . In 1781 he opened a doctor's practice on Bremer Sandstrasse. He married Dorothea Elisabeth Koehne (1767–1786) in 1785. She died the following year giving birth to her daughter Doris (Henriette Marie Dorothea Focke, née Olbers, 1786-1818). In 1788 he married Anna Adelheid Lürssen (1765–1820), with whom he had a son, the future Bremen Senator Georg Heinrich Olbers (1790–1861). After the early death of his daughter and that of his second wife, Olbers retired from working as a doctor in the seventh decade of his life.
Comets and minor planets
Olbers devoted most of his free time to astronomy. Since he got by on only four hours of sleep, he was able to make extensive sky observations. He also evaluated all the records of conspicuous comets that had appeared since 1531. In 1797 he published the treatise on the easiest and most convenient method of calculating the orbit of a comet . The work was published again in 1847 and 1864. The method described in it can still be used today. In 1797 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina .
In 1800 the Astronomical Society was founded in the Lilienthal observatory near Bremen at the suggestion of Franz Xaver von Zach . The first president was Johann Hieronymus Schroeter , founder and owner of the observatory, which at the time was considered to be excellently equipped. Other founding members were Olbers, Ferdinand Adolf von Ende , Johann Gildemeister and Karl Ludwig Harding .
In addition, eighteen other leading European astronomers were appointed members. The aim of the society was to find unknown celestial bodies in our solar system , in particular a suspected planet between Mars and Jupiter . For this purpose, the sky was divided into 24 sections and closely examined in the vicinity of the ecliptic . On January 1, 1801, Giuseppe Piazzi discovered the first minor planet from Palermo , which was later named (1) Ceres . On March 28, 1802, Olbers (2) discovered Pallas and on March 29, 1807 (4) Vesta . The asteroid (3) Juno was discovered by Harding in Lilienthal on September 1, 1804 . In 1804, Olbers was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society .
In 1804, Olbers met the young Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel . He recognized his mathematical and astronomical talent and recommended him to Schroeter as an assistant for the Lilienthal observatory as the successor to Harding. Bessel worked for four years at the Lilienthal observatory and then went to Königsberg University as a professor of astronomy .
As a result of the Napoleonic Wars, Northern Germany came under French rule at the beginning of the 19th century . Olbers was appointed a member of the Corps législatif , the legislative assembly in Paris , in 1811 . In the period that followed, Olbers traveled to Paris three times to represent the Weser estuary . There he made the personal acquaintance of Napoléon Bonaparte .
After the French rule ended, Olbers resumed his astronomical activities in 1814. In the years that followed he discovered six comets, including the short-period 13P / Olbers , which will return in 2024. In 1822, Olbers was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 1823 to the Royal Society of Edinburgh .
In 1823, Olbers formulated the Olbers Paradox named after him. He showed the contradiction that it gets dark at night, although assuming an infinite, transparent space with homogeneously distributed stars there would have to be a star at every point in the sky. The sky should therefore be brightly lit even at night when the sun is not visible .
- For his achievements, Olbers received numerous awards, including the Danish Danebrog Order , the Knight's Cross of the Guelph Order of the Royal House of Hanover and the Knight's Cross of the Prussian Red Eagle Order .
- On the occasion of his 50th anniversary as a doctor, the Bremen Senate decided in 1830 to erect a bust in the town hall there.
- In 1830 a gold, silver and bronze medal with his profile picture was issued on the same occasion, probably by the Bremen Society Museum . Medalist was Christoph Carl Pfeuffer in Berlin Medals coin of Gottfried Bernhard Loos . - In 1844 the same publisher gave a medal coined by Martin Heinrich Wilkens with the heads of Olbers and Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus as a gift for the participants of the 22nd meeting of German naturalists and doctors in Bremen.
- In 1844 the Bremen Senate decided to erect the Olbers monument in the ramparts near the former theater. The statue created by the sculptor Carl Steinhäuser was unveiled in 1850.
- In 1862 the Olbers plaque was attached to the Olbers house at Sandstrasse 15 (now 16) in Bremen- Mitte .
- In 1920, the Olbers Society was founded in Bremen with the aim of spreading astronomy to the public. Today the company operates the Walter Stein observatory on the grounds of the Bremen University of Applied Sciences and holds guest lectures in the Olbers Planetarium .
- To Olbers' commemoration of were Olbers - lunar craters , the comet 13P / Olbers and the asteroid (1002) Olbersia named after him.
- October 11, 1990 Göttingen memorial plaque , Weender Strasse 48
- In 2007 the name of the elementary school Olbersstrasse , Hanover was changed to Heinrich-Wilhelm-Olbers-Grundschule .
- The former Drebberstrasse school center in the Hemelingen district of Bremen has been called Wilhelm-Olbers-Oberschule since the 2007/08 school year .
- Olbersstrasse in Berlin, Bremen, Hanover, Lilienthal and other places
Ships named after Olbers
Olbers was also the name of various sailing ships: A frigate built in Arkhangelsk was acquired by FC Delius & Co. in Bremen in 1829 and scrapped in 1837. A sailor built in Grohn in 1838 by the same owner , the full ship Olbers (1851) , had a crash in 1848. Later a three-masted barque of the Imperial Navy bore the name of the astronomer.
- Dissertatio Inavgvralis Physiologica De Ocvli Mvtationibvs Internis. Dissertation. Dieterich, Göttingen 1780 (digitized version)
A treatise on the easiest and most convenient method of calculating the orbit of a comet from a few observations. , Industrie-Comptoir, Weimar 1797, doi : 10.3931 / e-rara-1518
- JF Encke (Ed.): Treatise on the easiest and most convenient method to calculate the orbit of a comet. With correction and expansion of the tables and continuation of the Cometen directory until 1847, Landes-Industrie-Comptoir, Weimar 1847 http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A10060618~SZ%3D5~ double-sided%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D .
- About the dangers our earth could suffer from the Comets. Gotha 1810 (digitized) .
C. Schilling (Ed.): Wilhelm Olbers. His life and his works. (Published on behalf of the descendants). Julius Springer, Berlin.
- First volume. Collected Works, 1894. http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D~IA%3Dwilhelmolberssei00olbeuoft~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3Dn8~ double-sided%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D
- Supplementary volume. New reductions, 1899. http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D~IA%3Dbub_gb_zsVNAAAAMAAJ~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3Dn5~ double-sided%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D
- Second volume. Correspondence between Olbers and Gauss. First division, 1900. http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D~IA%3Dp1wilhelmolberss02olbeuoft~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3Dn6~doppelseiten%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D
- Second volume. Correspondence between Olbers and Gauss. Second division, 1909. http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D~IA%3Dp2wilhelmolberss02olbeuoft~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3Dn6~doppelseiten%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D
- Diedrich Wattenberg (ed.): Wilhelm Olbers in correspondence with astronomers of his time. Publishing house for the history of natural sciences and technology, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-928186-19-1 .
- Adolph Erman (ed.): Correspondence between Wilhelm Olbers and Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel. Avenarius & Mendelssohn, Leipzig 1852. (Reprint 2010: ISBN 978-1-149-86667-2 , ISBN 978-1-14-407131-6 )
- Carl Friedrich Gauss: Works. Supplementary series Volume 4: Correspondence between Carl Friedrich Gauss and Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers. Berlin 1909. (Reprint: Olms, Hildesheim 1976, ISBN 3-487-05669-0 )
- Walter Stein (Ed.): Von Bremer Astronomers und Sternfreunde: for the inauguration of the observatory of the Olbers Society on the 200th birthday of W. Olbers, on October 11, 1958. Geist, Bremen 1958, p. 57 f.
- Gerd Biegel , Günther Oestmann, Karin Reich (eds.): New worlds. Wilhelm Olbers and the natural sciences around 1800 (= Disquisitiones Historiae Scientiarum. Braunschweiger contributions to the history of science. Volume 1). Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum, Braunschweig 2001, ISBN 3-927939-60-9 .
- Günther Oestmann : In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 19, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-428-00200-8 , p. 499 f. ( ).
- Siegmund Günther : Olbers: Heinrich Wilhelm Mathias O. In: General German Biography (ADB). Volume 24, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1887, pp. 236-238.
- [Heinrich Ferdinand] Scherk : Wilhelm Olbers. In: Treatises of the Natural Science Association in Bremen. 6th volume, Ed. Müller, Bremen 1880, pp. 1–9 ( PDF on ZOBODAT ; also digitized on biodiversitylibrary.org).
- G. [Georg] Barkhausen: Fragments from the life of Dr. Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers. In: Aerztliche Verein zu Bremen (Hrsg.): Biographical sketches of deceased Bremen doctors and natural scientists. A ceremony for the twentieth meeting of German natural scientists and doctors in Bremen. Johann Georg Heyse , Bremen 1844, p. 593 ff. Urn : nbn: de: gbv: 46: 1-479 .
- 2. Wilhelm Olbers , in Franz Xaver von Zach (ed.): General geographical ephemeris. Volume 4, September, V. Vermischte Nachrichten, Weimar 1799, pp. 283-287 ( version http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3DH9YBAAAAYAAJ~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3DPA283~ double-sided%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D).
- Literature by and about Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers in the catalog of the German National Library
- Publications by HW Olbers in the Astrophysics Data System
- Obituaries for HW Olbers in the Astrophysics Data System
- Website of the Olbers Planetarium
- Radio Bremen: Forgotten Bremer: Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers
- Hermes, Maria (2010, revised 2016): The estate of Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers (1758–1840) in the Bremen State and University Library
- Sabine Toppe: Focke, Henriette Marie Dorothea Focke, b. Olbers . In: Women's history (s) , Bremer Frauenmuseum (ed.). Edition Falkenberg, Bremen 2016, ISBN 978-3-95494-095-0 .
- Clifford Cunningham: Early Investigations of Ceres and the Discovery of Pallas . 2016
- Entry on Olbers, Heinich Wilhelm Mathias (1758 - 1840) in the archive of the Royal Society , London
- Fellows Directory. Biographical Index: Former RSE Fellows 1783–2002. (PDF file) Royal Society of Edinburgh, accessed March 26, 2020 .
- Günther Oestmann: The history of the library by Wilhelm Olbers. In: Gerd Biegel, Günther Oestmann, Karin Reich (eds.): New Worlds - Wilhelm Olbers and the natural sciences around 1800. Braunschweig 2001, pp. 114–133.
- Johann Elert Bode (Ed.): Astronomical Yearbook for the year 1826. Berlin 1823, p. 110.
- Hermann Jungk: The Bremen coins: coins and medals of the archdiocese and the city of Bremen . Bremen 1875, p. 375, no.33, plate 36 and p. 379, no.44, p. 39. (digitized version)
|SURNAME||Olbers, Heinrich Wilhelm|
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Olbers, Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German astronomer and doctor|
|DATE OF BIRTH||October 11, 1758|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Arbergen near Bremen|
|DATE OF DEATH||March 2, 1840|
|Place of death||Bremen|