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MAGNUS, HEINRICH GUSTAV:

German chemist and physicist; born in Berlin May 2, 1802; died there April 4, 1870. He was graduated from the University of Berlin in 1827, afterward studying a year at Stockholm under Berzelius, and later spending some time in Paris under Gay-Lussac and Thénard. In 1831 Magnus began teaching as privatdocent in Berlin; in 1834 he became assistant professor of physics and technology in the university there, and in 1845 was appointed professor. The physical cabinet of the university was formed by him. He ceased teaching in Feb., 1869.

The first work published by Magnus was "Ueber die Selbstentzündlichkeit des Feinzerteilten Eisens" (1825). While at Stockholm in 1828 he discovered the compound known as "the green salt of Magnus." He discovered also sulfovinic, ethionic, and isethionic acids, and (with Ammermüller) periodic acid; investigated the diminution in density produced in garnet and vesuvianite by melting; and studied the property inherent in the blood of absorbing carbonic acid and oxygen (founding thereon the theory of the absorption of the blood). On Dec. 13, 1841, he published the results of his experiments upon the coefficient of the dilatation of gases (Regnault having published his results in the same field on Nov. 25 of the same year); in 1860 and 1861 he announced the results of his experiments on the transmission of heat through gases by conductibility and radiation, which led to a long controversy with Tyndall.

He made researches also in magnetic and in thermal electricity, hydraulics, the deflection of projectiles from firearms, the diathermal power of gases, the polarization of radiant heat, etc. The results of his experiments and researches may be found in Poggendorff's "Annalen" or in the publications of the Berlin Academy of Sciences.

Bibliography:
  • Helmholtz, Rede zum Gedächtnis an G. Magnus, Berlin, 1871;
  • Hofmann, Zur Erinnerung an G. Magnus, ib. 1871;
  • Aus Jac. Berzelius' und G. Magnus' Briefwechsel;
  • Allg. Deutsche Biographie;
  • Poggendorff, Biographisch-Literarisches Handwörterb.;
  • Brockhaus Konversations-Lexikon;
  • Meyers Konversations-Lexikon;
  • Larousse, Dict.;
  • La Grande Encyclopédie;
  • Encyc. Brit.;
  • Appleton's Cyclo. of Am. Biog.;
  • Johnson's Encyc.
S. N. D.
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