Hugo Lichte

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Hugo Lichte (born April 11, 1891 in Mengede (Westphalia), † July 27, 1963 in Berlin ) was a German physicist. He founded the theory of sound propagation in the ocean and was a major developer of cinema technology in the transition from silent films to talkies .


Hugo Lichte studied mathematics, physics and chemistry at the University of Göttingen from 1909 to 1913 , with a semester in Munich in between. Until 1919 he was a research assistant at Torpedo Inspection Kiel and after the war ( First World War ) at Signal GmbH in Kiel, a subsidiary of Neufeldt & Kuhnke (renamed Hagenuk from 1936 ). From 1924 he worked at Mix & Genest AG in Berlin and from 1926 at AEG . When the AEG research institute was founded in Berlin in 1928 under the direction of Carl Ramsauer , he appointed him head of the electroacoustic department. After the end of the Second World War he taught at the Lilienthal-Gymnasium (Berlin-Lichterfelde) until 1959 . Since 1949 he was also a lecturer in physics at the Free University of Berlin .

Areas of work and special services

Hugo Lichte has particularly advanced the understanding of physical processes and associated technical developments in two areas of work, namely in marine acoustics and sound film technology.

In his seminal publication in 1919, he was the first to develop a theory of sound propagation in the ocean. He was able to show that, above all, the decrease in temperature and the increase in pressure with increasing water depth lead to a minimum of the speed of sound at medium depths. The resulting refraction of sound beams leads to significantly increased ranges for sound propagation. Urick said: “ This paper was far ahead of its time, and is an indication of the highly advanced state of German physics in the early years of this century. ”(“ This publication was way ahead of its time and is evidence of the highly developed German physics in the early years of this century. ”)

During his later work at the AEG Research Institute, Hugo Lichte was in charge of many developments in sound technology and, above all, brought forward procedures for the transition from silent film to sound film and audio frequency perception.



  1. Hugo Lichte: About the influence of horizontal temperature stratification of the sea water on the range of underwater sound signals. In: Physikalische Zeitschrift. 1919, 20 (17), 385-389. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  2. Hugo Lichte: On the influence of horizontal temperature layers in sea water on the range of underwater sound signals. In: Tracer Science & Systems. Translated by AF Wittenborn. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  3. F. Hehlgans, H. Lichte: Recording and reproduction of music and language in sound films. In: W. Petersen (Ed.): Research and Technology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg 1930.
  4. W. Bürck, P. Kotowsky, H. Lichte: The structure of the pitch consciousness . In: Electrical News Technology. 1935, 12, pp. 326-333.
  5. W. Bürck, P. Kotowsky, H. Lichte: Audibility of transit time differences. In: Electrical News Technology. 1935, 12, 355 ff.
  6. Hugo light, Albert Narath: physics and technology of sound film. Verlag S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1943, 411 pp.


  1. a b c Helmut Mielert: Lichte, Hugo. In: New German Biography. 1985, p. 448 f. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  2. ^ Peter C. Wille: Sound images of the ocean in research and monitoring. Springer, Berlin 2005, p. 15.
  3. ^ Albert E. Theberge: The Discovery of Long-Distance Sound Transmission in the Ocean - The Deep Sound Channel. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  4. RJ Urick: sound propagation in the sea. In: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 1979, 20402. 1, 1-1. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  5. Friedrich-Wilhelm Hagemeyer: The emergence of information concepts in communications technology - a case study on theory formation in technology in industrial and war research. Dissertation, Berlin 1979, p. 272. Website Retrieved April 26, 2019.

Individual evidence

  1. Hans-G. Hilscher: Lichtestraße. In: Kiel Street Lexicon. State capital Kiel, August 2018, accessed on April 24, 2019 .