Hermann von Helmholtz, German physicist

Hermann von Helmholtz, German physicist

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Credit: GARY BROWN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821-1894), German physiologist and physicist, holding the coil apparatus named after him. A Helmholtz coil consists of two circular electromagnetic coils (solenoids) in parallel, producing a region of nearly uniform magnetic field. Helmholtz studied medicine and made careful studies of the ear and the eye and worked on acoustic theories. He invented the ophthalmoscope and the ophthalmometer. In thermodynamics, he formulated a form of the law of the conservation of energy. He also produced vortex theorems in fluid dynamics, and the Helmholtz differential equation in mathematical physics is named for him.

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