Karl Christian von Langsdorf

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Karl Christian von Langsdorf

Karl Christian Langsdorf , from 1806 von Langsdorf (also Carl Christian von Langsdorff ; born May 18, 1757 in Nauheim , † June 10, 1834 in Heidelberg ) was a German mathematician , geologist , natural scientist and technician .


Langsdorf was born on May 18, 1757 as the son of the saltworks archivist and lordly Hesse-Hanau rentmaster (salt works in Nauheim) Georg Melchior Langsdorff (born February 25, 1713 in Wetzlar; † April 19, 1767) and Maria Margarethe Koch (used by Möller ) born. His twin brother was named Daniel Isaak. Johann Wilhelm Langsdorf (1745–1827) was his brother.


After graduating from high school in Idstein in 1773, he studied philosophy , law and mathematics in Göttingen from 1774 to autumn 1776 . a. with Abraham Gotthelf Kästner and then until 1777 at the University of Giessen . At Easter 1777 he worked as an intern at the Salzhausen salt works. Subsequently he devoted himself to studying the salt pans in Nidda. In 1781 he obtained his doctorate in Erfurt. phil.

In the summer semester of 1781 he taught as a private lecturer in Giessen. For health reasons, among other things, he decided not to pursue an academic career, but rather a career in administration and became a rentmaster and district judge in Mülheim an der Ruhr . From 1784 he then worked as a saltworks inspector in Gerabronn , which at that time belonged to the Margraviate of Ansbach . Johann Gottfried Tulla received training from Langsdorf in Gerabronn from 1792 to 1794.

In 1797 he was elected a corresponding member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences . In 1798 he received a full professorship for machine technology in Erlangen. He taught there until 1804 and during this time he subjected the then 15-year-old Georg Simon Ohm , who had been taught mathematics by his father together with his younger brother, to a thorough examination of his mathematics skills.

He turned down Heidelberg's call in 1803 and opted for the offer to teach mathematics and technology at the University of Vilnius . In Russia, he and his family were raised to the hereditary nobility. In 1806 he returned with the Russian nobility predicatevon ” and became (among other things, with the support of his older brother Gottlieb, Landvogt von Dilsburg) professor in Heidelberg. There he published the Heidelberg Yearbooks of Literature for Mathematics, Physics and Cameral Sciences , in which he a. a. Goethe's color theory panned out. In 1833 he examined the typewriter of the two-wheeler inventor Karl Drais for the Grand Ducal Ministry of the Interior.

On July 5, 1804 he was elected member ( matriculation no. 1028 ) of the Leopoldina with the surname Archimedes VII . The mathematical-physical class of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences accepted him in 1808 as a foreign member in their ranks.

Langsdorf also dealt with theological questions with great interest and published several works on this topic.

His brother Johann Wilhelm made a name for himself as an expert in the field of saltworks.

Karl Christian von Langsdorf received a letter from Willmann from Bad Dürrheim , a grand ducal slope administrator from Baden , who told him about the theory of a hobby geologist from Villingen, who had died at the time, that there was not only gypsum in Dürrheim, but also salt. After von Langsdorf presented to the government, he sent his son Gustav Langsdorf to the site, who, together with Bergrat KJ Selb, coordinated the drilling in Dürrheim, where salt was actually found on the night of February 26, 1822.


In 1781 he married his cousin Elisabeth Langsdorf (1761-1818), a daughter of the Giessen archivist Carl Wilhelm Langsdorf (1731-1809) and Marie Juliane Schieffer . The couple had 8 sons and 4 daughters, including:

  • Daniel Tobias (born September 2, 1796; † April 4, 1871), pastor in Hoffenheim, later church councilor ⚭ 1818 Karoline Burger (born October 15, 1793; † March 6, 1880)
  • Gustav (1803–1847), professor of the mountain u. Saltworks at the Bergingineur Corps in St. Petersburg ⚭ Marie Brömme, parents of Karl von Langsdorff (1834–1912)
  • Lisette ⚭ Johann Anton Schmidtmüller (1776–1809), professor of obstetrics in Landshut
  • Johanna Caroline (* August 18, 1789; † October 10, 1828) ⚭ Ludwig Wallrad Medicus (1771–1850), professor of the land a. Forestry in Munich, parents of Friedrich Medicus
  • Karl, pastor in Fliersbach

After her death in 1818 he married Elisabeth Mayer (1758-1822), the widow of the mountain council and chamber director Johann Georg Glenck († 1802). Carl Christian Friedrich Glenck thereby became his stepson. His wife was the daughter of Georg Hartmann Mayer (1719–1798), who was a pastor and as a plaster apostle a well-known supporter of agriculture. After his second wife had also died, he married Louise Friedrike von Wogau (1777-1832) in Heidelberg in 1822 , the widow of Professor Carl Philipp Christoph Heinrich Eschenmayer (1763-1820). When she died too, he married his fourth and last wife Elisabeth Schweickhard (1779–1858) in Heidelberg in 1832 .



  • Complete guide to salt works based on theory and experience, 1784
  • Explanations of Kästner's analysis of finite quantities , 1776–1777
  • Drey economic-physical-mathematical treatises , 1785
  • Physical-mathematical treatises on subjects of thermodynamics , 1796
  • Manual of Machine Science for Practitioners and Academic Teachers , 1797
  • Textbook of hydraulics with constant consideration of experience , 1794–1796
  • The hosiery chair and its use , 1805
  • Explanation of Most Important Teachings in Technology , 1807
  • Principia calculi differentialis a fundamentis novis iisque solidioribus deducta (= new and more thorough presentation of the principles of differential calculus ), 1807
  • About Newton's, Euler's, Kästner's, and Co. botched mathematics , 1807
  • Arithmetic treatises on legal, political and forestry questions, mortality, population and chronological determinations , 1810
  • New, easy-to-understand instructions for salt works with excellent consideration of halurgical geognosy and the most expedient institutions for the extraction of richer saltwater sources , 1824


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ New necrology of the Germans. Volume 13, part 1 - page 461ff
  2. Holger Krahnke: The members of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 1751-2001 (= Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Philological-Historical Class. Volume 3, Vol. 246 = Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Mathematical-Physical Class. Episode 3, vol. 50). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-525-82516-1 , p. 145.
  3. Volk (1934), p. 11
  4. Archived copy ( memento of the original from November 17, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / badische-heimat.de
  5. Full text in Google Book Search
  6. ^ Heinrich Kaak, Karl Alexander von , in: Sächsische Biographie, (November 28, 2015)