Ernst Mach. Photo, 1900.
Mach, Ernst, b. Tuřany, Czech Republic (then Turas), Feb. 18, 1838, d. Vaterstetten (Germany), Feb. 19, 1916, physicist and philosopher; 1866 Professor of Mathematics at the University of Graz, 1867 Professor of Physics in Prague (1879/80 Rector), 1895 to 181901 in Vienna. M. found experimental proof for the Doppler Effect (Christian Doppler) and by inspection of fast moving projectiles proposed the Mach's principle. The "Mach Number" named after him describes the relation of a body's velocity to sonic speed. Also carried out optical experiments. From a philosophical point of view his attitude was characterized by empirical thinking based on scientific findings; concentrated on questions of measurability. Exerted an important influence on the philosophers of the Vienna Circle. One of his strictest opponents and critics was M. Planck.
Publications: Die Mechanik in ihrer Entwicklung, 1883; Beiträge zur Analyse der Empfindungen, 1886; Die Prinzipien der Wärmelehre, 1896; Erkenntnis und Irrtum, 1905; Kultur und Mechanik, 1916.
Literature: F. Stadler, Vom Positivismus zur wiss. Weltauffassung am Beispiel der Wirkungsgeschichte von E. M. in Ö. von 1895-1934, 1982; J. Thide, E. M., in: Centaurus 8, 1963 (with bibliography); ÖBL; NDB.
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