The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 145, Issue 1, pp 25–32

Life and work of E.F.F. Chladni



DOI: 10.1140/epjst/e2007-00145-4

Cite this article as:
Ullmann, D. Eur. Phys. J. Spec. Top. (2007) 145: 25. doi:10.1140/epjst/e2007-00145-4


Ernst Florens Friedrich Chladni, the son of the rector of the University of Wittenberg, studied law and philosophy at the Universities of Wittenberg and Leipzig, wrote a dissertation in each of these disciplines and became an experimentalist concerned with sound and vibrations. Chladni's name is associated with the Chladni figures, and this is the first real effort to experimentally investigate the nature of sound. In the lecture the publications of Chladni are presented and, cursorily, his new instruments, designed and built by the physicist. Chladni began to tour half Europe in his own coach with sufficient space for his musical instruments. He gave lectures on the physics of plate and rod vibrations and included demonstrations of the figures and his musical instruments. Chladni's work has had a profound influence on the experimental advances in acoustics, room acoustics, in the verification of theories of superposition of waves, in elasticity, vibrational modes, sound velocities in various media, and much more. The lecture presents a portrait of the scientist Chladni, the times, and his contributions to experimental acoustics which influenced research for many decades.

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© EDP Sciences/Società Italiana di Fisica/Springer-Verlag 2007