Georg Ohm Biography

(Physicist & Mathematician)

Birthday: March 16, 1789 (Pisces)

Born In: Erlangen, Germany

Georg Ohm was a German physician and mathematician best known for discovering Ohm’s Law. Born and raised in Erlangen, Georg received his early education from his father and turned out to be an extraordinary student in physics and mathematics. He joined the University of Erlangen but dropped out due to a lack of interest. He subsequently moved to Switzerland where he taught mathematics in a few schools. He became a professor of mathematics at the University of Erlangen after obtaining his doctorate from the same university. In 1817, he joined the faculty of the Jesuit Gymnasium of Cologne and became a mathematics and physics teacher. It was there that he published his famous paper in 1827, titled The Galvanic Circuit Investigated Mathematically. He thus first introduced the world to Ohm’s Law, which would later be recognized as one of the greatest discoveries in the electrical energy field. He kept teaching as his main profession throughout his lifetime and towards the end of his life, he taught at the University of Munich. Georg is currently recognized worldwide as one of the greatest physicists and mathematicians of the 19th century.

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Quick Facts

German Celebrities Born In March

Also Known As: Georg Simon Ohm

Died At Age: 65

Family:

father: Johann Wolfgang Ohm

mother: Maria Elizabeth Beck

siblings: Elizabeth Barbara, Georg Simon, Martin

Born Country: Germany

Physicists Mathematicians

Died on: July 6, 1854

place of death: Munich, Germany

Notable Alumni: University Of Erlangen

More Facts

education: University of Erlangen

Childhood & Early Life

Georg Ohm was born Georg Simon Ohm, on March 16, 1789, in Erlangen, Holy Roman Empire. The location is the Bavaria region of present-day Germany. He was born to Johann Wolfgang Ohm and Maria Elizabeth into a middle-class family, his father worked as a locksmith in Erlangen while his mother was a tailor. He was born as one of 7 children in a religious protestant family, of all only 3 children survived, Georg and his brother and a sister.

Georg’s father was technically an uneducated man who had not attended a day in school. However, through determination and exposing himself to a good environment, he managed to educate himself to a higher level. Thus, despite being financially not too great, the family was one the most respected families in the region.

Georg’s mother passed away when he was 10 years old. Hence, the children were looked after by their father from then on. Under their father’s tutelage, both Georg and his brother learned many different subjects such as mathematics, physics, philosophy and chemistry. This gave Georg an initial kick which later on compelled him to make a career in the field of physics. He turned out to be a child prodigy, an extremely intelligent student.

At the age of 11, Georg and his brother enrolled at the University of Erlangen but by then, they had learned a lot more than college would teach them. Georg spent most of his time in extracurricular activities and focused less on his studies. He also complained that he was not learning properly in college and most of the education there was based on interpreting texts. Despite that, Georg was one of the top students in the class. One of his professors at the university compared both brothers to the Bernoulli family.

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Career

Johann, Georg’s father, saw that his son was mostly just wasting his time in college and the time there won’t benefit him in any way. In 1805, Georg was sent to Switzerland, where Georg became a mathematics teacher in a local school.

Despite him not liking the environment of the University of Erlangen too much, he wanted to work under the mathematician at the university, Karl Christian von Langsdorf and obtain his PhD. Langsdorf left the University in 1809 and took up a job as a mathematics professor at another university. However, the elderly professor was well aware of Georg’s natural genius in math and insisted that Georg does his study by himself. He asked his pupil to thoroughly study the works of great mathematicians such as Euler and Euplace.

For the next two years, Georg remained a mathematics teacher and resumed his mathematical research in private. However, in 1811, he returned to the University of Erlangen to obtain his PhD in mathematics. He had been working on his thesis and research during all the time that he spent in Switzerland. He was then hired as a lecturer at the university.

However, he did not find great fulfilment while working as a faculty member at the university and after teaching there for a few semesters, he left the job. In addition, the salary at the university was quite low and it was difficult for him to meet his daily expenses with that meagre salary.

He opted to work as a mathematics teacher at a local school in Bamberg, starting from 1813. The salary was relatively better but the work culture was even worse than it was at the university. Miffed by it, Georg began writing his own mathematics textbook focusing on geometry. When the school shut down in 1816, Georg was sent to teach at another school which was located nearby.

After he completed his textbook, he presented it to King Wilhelm III of Prussia who was heavily impressed by Georg’s work. He invited Georg to teach mathematics and physics at the Jesuit Gymnasium of Cologne in 1817. The gymnasium offered Georg a great environment to study and thrive. The place also had a physics library which was very well equipped with all the resources required for Georg to do his research on electric circuits which later became a milestone in the field of physics and mathematics

Being the son of a locksmith, Georg knew his way around mechanical instruments and kept researching his theories. In 1827, he mentioned which would later become Ohm’s Law in his 1827 paper titled The Galvanic Circuit Investigated Mathematically. He stated that the electric current for any electrical circuit is always directly proportional to the voltage provided to the circuit and inversely to the resistance faced by it. Hence, the resistance value acted as the moderator between the voltage and current. Thus, it changed physics and became one of the most important discoveries in modern science.

In the publication, Georg began with the base of understanding of the law and included mathematical equations leading up to the big discovery. However, this finding was not received as warmly as it was years after his death. Only towards the end of the 19th century did Ohm’s Law gain universal acclaim, and also got known by the circuit theory.

His work was not appreciated by the faculty and the management of the college. Disheartened by it, he resigned. There is no record of the next few years of his life but it is believed that he continued his research work in mathematics and physics for the next few years and stayed away from public life. However, many records also state that during this time, he was teaching at a Military School in Berlin.

He then took a job at the Polytechnic School of Nuremberg in 1833 and taught maths and physics there. He taught there until 1849. In 1835, he was also appointed as the Chairman of Higher mathematics at the Univesity of Erlangen. Around the same time, he was given the position of State Inspector of Scientific Education.

University of Munich hired him in 1852, where he took a position as a professor of experimental physics. He taught there till his death in 1854.

While Ohm’s Law was not received with enthusiasm back when he first brought it out, it later went on to get accepted by a wide scientific community. In 1841, he was awarded the Copley Medal by the Royal Society. The next year, he was made a foreign member of the Royal Society and eventually, he was made a full-time member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Personal Life & Death

Georg Ohm is said to have remained single throughout his life. There is no record of him ever getting married or fathering children.

Georg passed away on July 6, 1854, in Munich. He was 65 years old at the time of his demise.

See the events in life of Georg Ohm in Chronological Order

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