Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

Christoffel, Elwin Bruno

Published:
January 01, 2007

Abstract

Christoffel studied at the University of Berlin, where he received his doctorate in 1856 with a dissertation on the motion of electricity in homogeneous bodies. He continued his studies in Montjoie. In 1859 he became lecturer at the University of Berlin, in 1862 professor at the Polytechnicum in Zurich, and in 1869 professor at the Gewerbsakademie in Berlin. In 1872 he accepted the position of professor at the University of Strasbourg, newly founded after its acquisition by the Germans. Here he lectured until 1892, when his health began to deteriorate.

Christoffel has been praised not only as a very conscientious mathematician but also as a conscientious teacher. Politically he represented the traditional Prussian academician loyal to emperor and army. This may have contributed to his choice of Strasbourg and his endeavor to create a great German university in that city.

Scientifically, Christoffel was primarily a follower of Dirichlet, his teacher, and of Riemann, especially of the latter. Their ideas inspired his early publications (1867, 1870) on the conformal mapping of a simply connected area bounded by polygons on the area of a circle, as well as the paper of 1880 in which he showed algebraically that the number of linearly independent integrals of the first kind on a Riemann surface is equal to the genus p. The posthumous “Vollständige Theorie der Riemannschen θ-Function” also shows how, rethinking Riemann’s work, Christoffel came to an independent approach characteristic of his own way of thinking. Also in the spirit of Riemann is Christoffel’s paper of 1877 on the propagation of plane waves in media with a surface of discontinuity, an early contribution to the theory of shock waves.

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables

Contents

Society of Exploration Geophysicists Geophysics Reprint Series

Classics of Elastic Wave Theory

Michael A. Pelissier
Michael A. Pelissier
Search for other works by this author on:
Henning Hoeber
Henning Hoeber
Search for other works by this author on:
Norbert van de Coevering
Norbert van de Coevering
Search for other works by this author on:
Ian F. Jones
Ian F. Jones
Search for other works by this author on:
Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Volume
24
ISBN electronic:
9781560801931
Publication date:
January 01, 2007

GeoRef

References

Related

Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal