Karl F. Herzfeld

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Prof. Karl Ferdinand Herzfeld, Professor

Birthplace: Wien, Wien, Wien, Austria
Death: Died in Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Place of Burial: Washington DC, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Dr. Charles August Karl Herzfeld, Lt Col. and Camilla Herzfeld
Husband of Regina Herzfeld, Professor
Brother of Dr. August Alfred Herzfeld
Half brother of Herbert Herzfeld

Managed by: John R Fischer
Last Updated:

About Karl F. Herzfeld

Austrian born and educated American scientist who contributed significantly to knowledge of physics and physical chemistry in particular if the field of ultrasonics, the behaviour of liquids and gasses, chemical kinetics and ballistics.

Studied Universities of Vienna, Zurich and Goettingen. Served in Austrian Army during WWI as 'Private Dr Herzfeld' and later Sergeant in artillery unit on the Galician front. As 2nd Lt served in Montenegro and Albania and finally in 1916 (and again 1918) on the Italian front. As 1st Lt studied theoretical ballistics in Vienna 1917.

Studied theoretical physics Munich University after the War and later accepted visiting professorship at John Hopkins University, Baltimore until moving in 1936 to the Catholic University in Washington where he remained as Head of the Physics Department until retirement.

He married 1938 and was a regular visitor to London in years prior to his death to spend time with family members. An extraordinarily knowledgeable academic of great presence intellectually and physically even into older age..

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Herzfeld

Herzfeld was born in Vienna during the reign of the Habsburgs over the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His father was a physician and ordinarius professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Vienna. His mother, Camilla née Herzog, was the daughter of a newspaper publisher and sister of the organic chemist R. O. Herzog.[1]

In 1902, when Herzfeld was 10 years old, he was enrolled in the private Gymnasium Schottengymnasium, which was run by the Benedictine Order of the Roman Catholic Church and had its name derived from the fact that the founders came from Scotland. He attended this school until 1910, when he began attending the University of Vienna to study physics and chemistry. In 1912, he took courses at the University of Zurich and the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH). It was in Zurich he met Otto Stern, who was at the ETH; Herzfeld later credited conversations with Stern for his deeper understanding of thermodynamics. In 1913, he went to study at the University of Göttingen, after which Herzfeld returned to Vienna, and was granted his doctorate in 1914, under Friedrich Hasenöhrl, who had become Director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics, upon the suicide of Ludwig Boltzmann in 1906.[1][2]

Herzfeld’s doctoral thesis applied statistical mechanics to a gas of free electrons as a model for a theory of metals. By the time he received his doctorate, he already had published six scientific papers. In one of them, he attempted to derive a model of the hydrogen atom. This paper was published in 1912,[3] shortly before Niels Bohr submitted his first paper on the Bohr model of the hydrogen atom.[4]

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Karl F. Herzfeld's Timeline

February 24, 1892
Wien, Wien, Wien, Austria
June 3, 1978
Age 86
Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Washington DC, United States