Franz Josef Gerstner
Franz Josef von Gerstner
|Died||25 July 1832
|Notable students||Bernard Bolzano|
Life [ edit ]
Gerstner was born in Komotau then in the Holy Roman Empire (today's Chomutov in the Czech Republic). He was the son of Florian Gerstner (1730–1783) and Maria Elisabeth, born Englert. He studied at the Jesuits gymnasium in Komotau. after which he studied mathematics and astronomy at the Faculty of Philosophy in Prague between 1772 and 1777. In 1781, he started to study medicine at the University of Vienna, but quickly decided to work in the astronomical observatory instead. In 1789, he became professor of mathematics there.
In 1795, Gerstner became a member of the government commission which tried to improve higher technical education in the Austrian empire. Following his suggestion, the old Prague engineering school Institute of Engineering Education (Czech: Česká stavovská inženýrská škola) founded by Emperor Joseph I, was converted to a polytechnic school in 1803. Gerstner became director of the polytechnic in 1806 and also professor of mechanics and hydraulics. He taught there until 1823, when he was forced to stop due to an illness. The polytechnic still exists today as the Czech Technical University in Prague (ČVUT), and the institute for artificial intelligence and cybernetics research at ČVUT bears the name Gerstner Laboratory. He died, aged 76, in Mladějov.
Work [ edit ]
From his published works, the most important ones were Theory of waves (1804) and Handbuch der Mechanik (1831; Handbook of mechanics). This last book appeared in three volumes, with 1400 subscribers.
His work focused on applied mechanics, hydrodynamics and river transportation. He helped to build the first iron works and first steam engine in Czech lands. In 1807, he suggested the construction of a horse-drawn railway between the Austrian Empire towns of Budweis (today's České Budějovice) and Linz. This railway was later actually built between 1827 and 1829 by his son Franz Anton (Ritter) von Gerstner (Czech: František Antonín Gerstner, 1796, Prague - 1840, Philadelphia (de)).
The so-called Gerstner wave is the trochoidal wave solution for periodic water waves – the first correct and nonlinear theory of water waves in deep water, appearing even before the first correct linearised theory – published by Gerstner in 1802.
Notes [ edit ]
References [ edit ]
- Příruční slovník naučný 1962 (encyclopedia by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences): volume II, page 25.
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