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Julius Plücker

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Nationality  German
Notable awards  Copley Medal
Known for  Plucker formula
Awards  Copley Medal
Name  Julius Plucker
Fields  Mathematics, Physics
Role  Mathematician

Julius Plucker httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons22
Born  16 June 1801 Elberfeld, Duchy of Berg, Holy Roman Empire (1801-06-16)
Alma mater  University of Bonn University of Heidelberg University of Berlin University of Paris University of Marburg
Doctoral advisor  Christian Ludwig Gerling
Doctoral students  Felix Klein August Beer
Died  May 22, 1868, Bonn, Germany
Education  University of Paris, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, Heidelberg University, University of Marburg
Similar People  Heinrich Geisler, Felix Klein, Johann Wilhelm Hittorf, Eugen Goldstein, Christian Ludwig Gerling

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Julius Plücker (16 June 1801 – 22 May 1868) was a German mathematician and physicist. He made fundamental contributions to the field of analytical geometry and was a pioneer in the investigations of cathode rays that led eventually to the discovery of the electron. He also vastly extended the study of Lamé curves.


Early years

Julius Plücker Julius Plucker German mathematician and physicist Britannicacom

Plücker was born at Elberfeld (now part of Wuppertal). After being educated at Düsseldorf and at the universities of Bonn, Heidelberg and Berlin he went to Paris in 1823, where he came under the influence of the great school of French geometers, whose founder, Gaspard Monge, had only recently died.

Julius Plücker Julius Plucker Bio Facts Family Famous Birthdays

In 1825 he returned to Bonn, and in 1828 was made professor of mathematics.

Julius Plücker Julius Plucker German mathematician and physicist mid 19th century

In the same year he published the first volume of his Analytisch-geometrische Entwicklungen, which introduced the method of abridged notation.

Julius Plücker Julius Plucker Alchetron The Free Social Encyclopedia

In 1831 he published the second volume, in which he clearly established on a firm and independent basis projective duality.


Julius Plücker Julius Plucker Alchetron The Free Social Encyclopedia

In 1836, Plücker was made professor of physics at University of Bonn. In 1858, after a year of working with vacuum tubes of his Bonn colleague Heinrich Geissler, he published his first classical researches on the action of the magnet on the electric discharge in rarefied gases. He found that the discharge caused a fluorescent glow to form on the glass walls of the vacuum tube, and that the glow could be made to shift by applying an electromagnet to the tube, thus creating a magnetic field. It was later shown that the glow was produced by cathode rays.

Julius Plücker Mathematical Treasure Julius Plucker on Geometry Mathematical

Plücker, first by himself and afterwards in conjunction with Johann Hittorf, made many important discoveries in the spectroscopy of gases. He was the first to use the vacuum tube with the capillary part now called a Geissler tube, by means of which the luminous intensity of feeble electric discharges was raised sufficiently to allow of spectroscopic investigation. He anticipated Robert Wilhelm Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff in announcing that the lines of the spectrum were characteristic of the chemical substance which emitted them, and in indicating the value of this discovery in chemical analysis. According to Hittorf, he was the first who saw the three lines of the hydrogen spectrum, which a few months after his death, were recognized in the spectrum of the solar protuberances.

In 1865, Plücker returned to the field of geometry and invented what was known as line geometry in the nineteenth century. In projective geometry, Plücker coordinates refer to a set of homogeneous co-ordinates introduced initially to embed the set of lines in three dimensions as a quadric in five dimensions. The construction uses 2×2 minor determinants, or equivalently the second exterior power of the underlying vector space of dimension 4. It is now part of the theory of Grassmannians, to which these co-ordinates apply in generality (k-dimensional subspaces of n-dimensional space).


Plücker was the recipient of the Copley Medal from the Royal Society in 1866.


Julius Plücker Wikipedia