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Baron Roland von Eötvös (1848–1919)

Nature volume 162, page 135 (24 July 1948) | Download Citation



ON July 27 the centenary occurs of the birth of the distinguished Hungarian physicist Baron Roland von Eötvös, who in 1891 founded the Hungarian Mathematical and Physical Society and was long the president of the Hungarian Academy of Science. Both his grandfather and great-grandfather had held high office under the Austrian crown, and his father Baron Josef von Eötvös (1813-71) was at one time Minister of Public Instruction. Born at Budapest, the younger Eötvös was educated at the University there, but studied later under Kirchhoff, Helmholtz and Bunsen at Heidelberg, and under Franz Neumann at Königsberg. He became a Dozent in physics at Budapest, and in 1872, at the age of twenty-four, was appointed to the chair of theoretical physics, and later was transferred to the chair of experimental physics. Known widely for his invention of the torsion balance for the investigation of gravitational anomalies, he was recently referred to by Prof. A. O. Rankine as "the father of geophysical prospecting for oil, even if a hesitant one". He died at Budapest on April 8, 1919, at the age of seventy.

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