Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Rydberg, Johannes Robert

  • Charlotte Bigg
Reference work entry

Alternate Name

 Rydberg, Janee Robert

BornHalmstad, Sweden, 8 November 1854

DiedLund, Sweden, 28 December 1919

Swedish physicist Johannes Rydberg calculated the amount of energy required to unbind the single electron of hydrogen, and this amount (13.6 eV) is often given his name as the Rydberg constant (alternatively 109,678 cm−1). More recently, the phrase Rydberg matter has been used to describe neutral gas in which the electrons are located in states of very high excitation far from their nuclei.

Rydberg was the son of Maria Beata Andersson and Sven R. Rydberg, a local tradesman and boatyard operator, who died when his son was four. He married Lydia E. M. Carlsson in 1886, and they had a son and two daughters.

Rydberg studied and worked all his life at Lund University. He first went there in 1873 after completing his gymnasium studies in Halmstad; he was awarded the Ph.D. degree in mathematics in 1879, becoming a docent(lecturer) in mathematics in the following year. His interests...

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Selected References

  1. Bohr, N. (1954). “Rydberg’s Discovery of the Spectral Laws.” In Proceedings of the Rydberg Centennial Conference on Atomic Spectroscopy, edited by Bengt Edlén, pp. 15–21. Acta Universitatis Lundensis, 50. Lund: Gleerup. (Niels Bohr assessed the use of Rydberg’s work for the construction of quantum theories of matter.)Google Scholar
  2. Dörries, Matthias (1995). “Heinrich Kayser as Philologist of Physics.” Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences 26: 1–33. (For an evaluation of Heinrich Kayser and Carl Runge.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hamilton, Paul C. (1993). “Reaching Out: Janne Rydberg’s Struggle for Recognition.” In Center on the Periphery: Historical Aspects of 20th-Century Swedish Physics, edited by Svante Lindqvist, pp. 269–292. Canton, Massachusetts: Science History Publications. (For a discussion of the difficulties faced by Rydberg to obtain official recognition of his work.)Google Scholar
  4. Rydberg, J. R. (1890). “Recherches sur la constitution des spectres d’émission des éléments chimiques.” Kungliga Svenska vetenskapsakademiens handlingar, n.s., 23. (Rydberg’s major work.)Google Scholar
  5. — (1890). “On the Structure of the Line-Spectra of the Chemical Elements.” Philosophical Magazine, 5th ser., 29: 331–337.Google Scholar
  6. Siegbahn, Manne (1952). “Janne Rydberg, 1854–1919.” In Swedish Men of Science, 1650–1950, edited by Sten Lindroth, pp. 214–218. Stockholm: Swedish Institute, Almqvist and Wiksell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre Alexandre KoyréParisFrance