Josef Maximilian Petzval

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Josef Petzval 1854, drawing by Adolf Dauthage
Grave of Josef Petzval at the Vienna Central Cemetery

Jozef Maximilián Petzval (born January 6, 1807 Spišská Belá (German Zipser Bela, Hungarian Szepesbéla), † September 17, 1891 in Vienna ), also known by his German name Joseph Maximilian Petzval or the Hungarian name Petzval József Miksa , was a Hungarian German Mathematician.


Petzval later studied and taught at the University of Pest (part of what later became Budapest ). In 1837 he accepted a chair for mathematics at the University of Vienna . He was a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA).

Petzval's most famous achievement is Petzval's portrait lens , which after 150 years still has some meaning. He did fundamental work on the theory of aberrations in optical systems. Some central terms in this field were later named after him:

The powerful Orthoskop landscape lens also goes back to Petzval's developments .

The Petzval Glacier in Antarctica is also named after him.

In mathematics, he worked on applications of the Laplace transformation, among other things .


  • Report on the results of some dioptric examinations (Pest, 1843)
  • Integration of the linear differential equations (I.-II., Vienna, 1853-59)
  • Report on optical and dioptric examinations (meeting reports, Vienna, 1857)


Web links

Commons : Jozef Petzval  - collection of images, videos and audio files