In Mailbox today: Response to a Czech Books programme on Lidice, Radio Prague's monthly listeners' quiz. Listeners/readers quoted: Roger Tidy, Paul R Peacock, Xiu-ping Qian, Colin Law, Jayanta Chakrabarty, Miguel Angel Lahera Rivero, Charles Konecny.
Hello and thanks for tuning in to Mailbox. In June the Czech Republic marked the 70th anniversary of the destruction of Lidice, a village in Central Bohemia which was exterminated by the Nazis in retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the acting Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia. Roger Tidy from London listened to a Czech Books programme by David Vaughan devoted to the topic:
“I'm writing to tell you how much I appreciated David Vaughan's programme about Lidice. It was an excellent piece of radio craftsmanship, and I would like to recommend it to any of your listeners who have not yet heard it. It was especially poignant at a time when we are hearing in media reports about other, more recent 'Lidices' in Syria. Thank you for creating such an interesting and moving programme.”
Thank you for the comment and many thanks to all our listeners and readers for all your e-mails, reception reports as well as your comments on our Facebook page and liking our posts there. Please stay in touch with us in whichever way you prefer. Now, as every month it’s time to get back to your answers to our competition question. Let’s find out who our mystery man was. This e-mail was sent by Paul R Peacock from Australia:
“Christian Doppler is the gentleman you seek. Born 29 November 1803 in his family home in Salzburg. Unfortunately as he grew up he was but a frail person and would not be able to take over the family business of stonemasonry. Instead he joined the Vienna Polytechnic in 1822 where he excelled in mathematics and graduated 3 years later. He is famous for what is known as the ‘Doppler Effect,’ hypothesizing that the pitch of sound would alter if that sound was moving instead of stationary. He was relatively young when he died at 49 from a pulmonary disease in Venice, Italy. There is now a bridge, hospital and a square in Salzburg that are named in his honour.”
“After completing high school, Doppler studied astronomy and mathematics in Vienna and Salzburg, and started to work at the Prague Polytechnic, where he was appointed professor for mathematics and physics in 1841. Christian Doppler is most famous for what is now called the Doppler effect, which is the apparent change in frequency and wavelength of a wave as perceived by an observer moving relative to the wave's source.”
Colin Law from New Zealand included a lot of detail:
“Doppler gained a temporary position as assistant to a Professor of mathematics and mechanics at the university in Vienna, but he sought a more permanent position by applying to numerous schools in central Europe. At age 30, being unsuccessful in his applications, he decided to emigrate to America.
“Doppler had met the United States Consul in Munich to facilitate his move to USA and was about to finalise his plans when he was offered a position at the Prague Technical School which he had first applied for in March 1833. He finally took up the post as professor of arithmetic, algebra, theoretical geometry and accountancy in March 1835. He was married in 1836 to Mathilde Sturm and was promoted in 1841 to a professorship at the Polytechnic.
“Christian Doppler was offered the professorship at the first technical university in the world, the Mining and Forestry Academy in Banská Štiavnica (Slovakia). However, he had to leave in 1848 when revolution broke out in several European cities. He was then appointed to Vienna Polytechnic and on 17 January 1850 became the first appointee to the post of director at the new Institute of Physics at Vienna University. Failing health saw him travelling to Venice where it was hoped the warmer climate would improve his situation, but by March 1853 he was close to death as his wife came from Vienna, leaving behind their two daughters and three sons. Christian Doppler's funeral was held in the Church of San Giovanni in Bragora and he was buried in the cemetery Isola San Michele in Venice, where a plaque was erected in his honour by the physicists of the city.
“Doppler published works on electricity and magnetism, optics and astronomical topics. In an 1842 paper ‘Concerning the Coloured Light of Double Stars’ he showed that the velocity of the source relative to the position of the observer can cause perceived changes in light and sound waves. This is now called the Doppler effect or Doppler shift and it has influenced sonar, radar and is important in measurements relating to motion of stars and other celestial bodies, as well as medical applications relating to cardiac valves and foetal blood flow.”
“His most notable works on the coloured light of binary and other heavenly stars and studies on the motion of source and the observer, led to the discovery of the famous Doppler principle. This important discovery has since found applications in astronomy, aviation, meteorology, spectroscopy, health science and ultrasound vascular applications. During his association with the Prague scientific community, he published over 50 articles on a gamut of subjects covering mathematics, astronomy, magnetism, electricity, and optics. The European Revolution of 1848 interrupted his research in Prague. Though this exceptional genius died at a comparative young age of 49 years, yet his ideas helped revolutionise scientific thoughts for the next 160 years in such advanced contemporary fields as genetics, ‘big bang’ theory and cardiovascular applications.”
Miguel Angel Lahera Rivero follows Radio Prague in Cuba:
“On January 17, 1850 Doppler was appointed first director of the new Institute of Physics, Imperial University of Vienna. A curious fact is there examined a kid of 20 who was a monk and was named Mendel. He published works about the topics of magnetism, electricity, optics and astronomy. He created many instruments, especially optical, and improved existing ones. He was known to have very original ideas. Some could not be implemented, but in other cases it was the germ of some that would be developed later. His principle was used in medicine in the twentieth century. It is employed in of another principle of acoustics: the ultrasound.”
And Charles Konecny from the USA wrote:
“Doppler had a keen mind in mathematics and physics, and I don't, but I do have kinship with him as when I was drafted into the military during the Korean War (60 years ago) I operated a Doppler transmitter site at a guided missile test range which used the ‘Doppler Effect’ to track the missile in its flight. Doppler accomplished much in his relatively short life, most notably observing frequencies of light and sound waves, and he stands tall among the mathematicians and scientists of his time. Actually, it turns out, he is also a household name, as every day we hear weather reports on TV and radio that rely on ...’Doppler Radar’. So Doppler deserves a ‘tip of the hat’ for all his contributions that has made the world a better place for all of us. I do remember this was a Competition Question a few years back. I just don't remember his first name being Christian.”
I am quite sure Doppler never featured in our little quiz before. But back in 2006 we had another genius physicist connected to this country – Ernst Mach, who was born in Brno.
Thank you very much for your answers and research. This month the lucky one who will be sent a Radio Prague prize is Miguel Angel Lahera Rivero from Cuba. Congratulations! And here is another chance to win one of our monthly prizes:
In July we are looking for the name of a Czech traveller and botanist, born in 1823 who was a keen collector of orchids and has over three dozen orchid species named in his honour.
Please send us your answers by the end of July to email@example.com. We are also looking forward to your internet reception reports and all feedback in general. Until next time, stay tuned.