Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 1238-1239


Kopff, August

  • Horst KantAffiliated withDepartment of Earth Science, University of Northern IowaMax Planck Institute for the History of Science Email author 

BornHeidelberg, Germany, 5 February 1882

DiedHeidelberg, (Germany), 25 April 1960

Comet and Trojan asteroid discoverer August Kopff was the son of a master plumber in Heidelberg. From 1900 to 1905 he studied mathematics, physics, and astronomy at the University of Heidelberg, where he got his Ph.D. in 1906 with a paper on “Über die Nebel der Nova Persei.” Among his academic teachers were astronomer Maximilian Wolf, who founded the Königstuhl Observatory at the University of Heidelberg, mathematician Leo Königsberger (1837–1921), and physicist Georg Quincke (1834–1924). By 1901, Kopff began work with Wolf at the observatory. In 1907 Kopff became Privatdozent (lecturer), and in 1912 a professor at the University of Heidelberg. After military service during World War I, Kopff returned to teaching and observing at the University of Heidelberg. In 1924, Kopff became professor of theoretical astronomy at the University of Berlin and simultaneously – as a successor of Fritz Cohn (1866–1921) – d ...

This is an excerpt from the content