Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 418-420


Chladni, Ernst Florens Friedrich

  • Ursula B. MarvinAffiliated withSmithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Harvard University Email author 

BornWittenberg, (Germany), 30 November 1756

DiedBreslau (Wroćław, Poland), 3 April 1827

Chladni, Ernst Florens Friedrich. Reproduced by permission of Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

Ernst Chladni contributed significantly to the founding of modern meteoritics. He was the only child of Ernst Martin and Johanna Sophia Chladni. The family was originally from Kremnitz (Kremnica), Slovakia. Chladni’s grandfather and father were both professors of jurisprudence at Wittenberg. He never married.

Although he was educated by his parents in a strict, rather isolated household, Chladni developed a yearning for travel and a strong interest in the natural history of the Earth and the heavens. On his father’s bidding, Chladni studied law and philosophy at Wittenberg and Leipzig, where he earned his doctorate in 1782. His father died shortly afterward, leaving him free to pursue his own interests.

Chladni mastered mathematics and physics and conducted his earliest experiments on the vibrations of solid plates a ...

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