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Encyclopedia > Woldemar Voigt

Woldemar Voigt (September 2, 1850 - December 13, 1919) was a German physicist. September 2 is the 245th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (246th in leap years). ... 1850 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... December 13 is the 347th day of the year (348th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... A physicist is a scientist trained in physics. ...

He was born in Leipzig, and died in Göttingen. He was a student of Franz Ernst Neumann. He worked on crystal physics, thermodynamics and electro-optics. His main work was the Lehrbuch der Kristallphysik (Textbook on crystal physics), first published in 1910. He discovered the Voigt effect in 1898. The word tensor in its current meaning was introduced by Voigt in 1899. Voigt profile and Voigt notation are named after Voigt. (help· info) [] (Sorbian/Lusatian: Lipsk) is the largest city in the Federal State (Bundesland) of Saxony in Germany. ... Landmark Gänseliesel fountain at the main market Göttingen ( (help· info)) is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany. ... Franz Ernst Neumann (September 11, 1798 - May 23, 1895) was a German mineralogist, physicist and mathematician. ... It has been suggested that crystallization processes be merged into this article or section. ... A Superconductor demonstrating the Meissner Effect. ... Thermodynamics (from the Greek thermos meaning heat and dynamis meaning power) is a branch of physics that studies the effects of changes in temperature, pressure, and volume on physical systems at the macroscopic scale by analyzing the collective motion of their particles using statistics. ... Electro-optics is a branch of technology involving components, devices and systems which operate by modification of the optical properties of a material by an electric field. ... -1... 1898 (MDCCCXCVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... In mathematics, a tensor is a generalized quantity or a certain kind of geometrical entity that includes all the ideas of scalars, vectors, matrices and linear operators. ... 1899 (MDCCCXCIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... In spectroscopy, the Voigt profile is a spectral line profile named after Woldemar Voigt and found in all branches of spectroscopy in which a spectral line is broadened by two types of mechanisms, one of which alone would produce a Doppler profile, and the other of which would produce a... Voigt notation - Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins/monobook/IE50Fixes. ...

In 1887 Voigt[1] formulated a form of the Lorentz transformation between a rest frame of reference and a frame moving with speed v in the x direction. According to Ernst et al. (2001), Voigt stated in this paper the universal speed of light and demonstrated that Maxwell's equations are invariant under his transformation [2]. Voigt's work was far ahead of its time and went apparently un-noticed by all those who contributed to the development of special relativity (George FitzGerald and Oliver Heaviside, Joseph Larmor, Hendrik Lorentz, Henri Poincaré and Albert Einstein)[3]. Lorentz gave generous, but belated, credit to Voigt in his 1909 book on "The theory of electrons" [4]. A Lorentz transformation (LT) is a linear transformation that preserves the spacetime interval between any two events in Minkowski space, while leaving the origin fixed. ... Maxwells equations (sometimes called the Maxwell equations) are the set of four equations, attributed to James Clerk Maxwell, that describe the behavior of both the electric and magnetic fields, as well as their interactions with matter. ... Invariant may have meanings invariant (computer science), such as a combination of variables not altered in a loop invariant (mathematics), something unaltered by a transformation invariant (music) invariant (physics) conserved by system symmetry This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the... Special relativity (SR) or the special theory of relativity is the physical theory published in 1905 by Albert Einstein in his article On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies. It replaced Newtonian notions of space and time and incorporated electromagnetism as represented by Maxwells equations. ... George FitzGerald George Francis FitzGerald, or Fitzgerald, (3 August 1851 – 22 February 1901) was a professor of natural and experimental philosophy (i. ... Oliver Heaviside (May 18, 1850 – February 3, 1925) was a self-taught English engineer, mathematician and physicist who adapted complex numbers to the study of electrical circuits, developed techniques for applying Laplace transforms to the solution of differential equations, reformulated Maxwells field equations in terms of electric and magnetic... Sir Joseph Larmor (July 11, 1857 - May 19, 1942), an Irish physicist and mathematician, researched electricity, dynamics, and thermodynamics. ... Painting of Hendrik Lorentz by Arnhemensis Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (July 18, 1853, Arnhem – February 4, 1928, Haarlem) was a Dutch physicist and the winner of the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on electromagnetic radiation. ... Henri Poincaré, photograph from the frontispiece of the 1913 edition of Last Thoughts Jules Henri Poincaré (April 29, 1854 – July 17, 1912), generally known as Henri Poincaré, was one of Frances greatest mathematicians and theoretical physicists, and a philosopher of science. ... Albert Einstein, photographed by Oren J. Turner in 1947. ...

The Voigt transformation

In modern notation Voigt's transformation was

x^prime = x - vt
y^prime = y/gamma
z^prime = z/gamma
t^prime = t - vx/c^2

where gamma = 1/sqrt{1 - v^2/c^2}. If the right-hand sides of his equations are multiplied by γ they are the modern Lorentz transformation. Lorentz (1909) is on record as saying he could have taken these transformattions into his theory of electrodynamics, if only he had known of them, rather than developing his own. It is interesting then to examine the consequences of these transfromations from this point of view. Lorentz might then have seen that the transformation introduced relativity of simultaneity, and also time dilation. However, the magnitude of the dilation was greater than the now accepted value in the Lorentz transformations. Moving clocks, obeying Voigt's time transformation, indicate an elpased time ΔtVoigt = γ − 2Δt = γ − 1ΔtLorentz, while stationary clocks indicate an elapsed time Δt. A Lorentz transformation (LT) is a linear transformation that preserves the spacetime interval between any two events in Minkowski space, while leaving the origin fixed. ... Relativity of simultaneity means that events that are considered to be simultaneous in one reference frame are not simultaneous in another reference frame moving with respect to the first. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...

If Lorentz had adopted this transformation, it would have been a matter of experiment to decide between them and the modern Lorentz transformation. Since Voigt's transformation preserves the speed of light in all frames, the Michelson-Morley experiment and the Kennedy-Thorndike experiment can not distinguish between the two transformations. The crucial question is the issue of time dilation[5]. The experimental measurement of time dilation by Ives and Stillwell (1938) and others settles the issue in favor of the Lorentz transformation. The Michelson-Morley experiment, one of the most important and famous experiments in the history of physics, was performed in 1887 by Albert Michelson and Edward Morley at what is now Case Western Reserve University, and is considered by some to be the first strong evidence against the theory of... The Kennedy-Thorndike experiment (Experimental Establishment of the Relativity of Time), first conducted in 1932, is a modified form of the Michelson-Morley experimental procedure. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...

For a photograph of Woldemar Voigt, see: http://www.theorie.physik.uni-goettingen.de/ueberuns/Geschichte/index.en.html


  • Ernst, A. and Hsu, J.-P. (2001) “First proposal of the universal speed of light by Voigt 1887”, Chinese Journal of Physics, 39(3), 211-230.
  • Gluckman, A. G. (1976) "Voigt Kinematics and Electrodynamic Consequences", Found. Phys. 6(3), 305-316.
  • Ives, H. E. and Stilwell, G. R. (1938), “An experimental study of the rate of a moving clock”, J. Opt. Soc. Am, 28, 215-226.
  • Jefimenko, O. D. (1997) Electromagnetic Retardation and Theory of Relativity, Electret Scientific Company, Star City.
  • Kennedy, R. J. and Thorndike, E. M. (1932) “Experimental Establishment of the Relativity of Time”, Physical Review. Series 2, 42, 400-418.
  • Lorentz, H. A. (1899) "Simplified theory of electrical and optical phnomena in moving systems", Proc. Acad. Science Amsterdam, I, 427-43.
  • Lorentz, H. A. (1909) Theory of electrons and its applications to the phenomena of light and radiant heat: A course of lectures delivered in Columbia University, New Yory, in March and April 1906, Teubner, Leipzig. David Nutt, Williams & Northgate, London. G. E. Stechert & Co., New York. QC793.5.E62L671909.
  • O'Rahilly, A. (1965) Electromagnetic Theory, Dover, Vol. I, Chap. IX.
  • Voigt, W. (1887) "Ueber das Doppler'sche Princip", Nachrichten von der Königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, 2, 41-51; reprinted with additional comments in Physikalische Z. XVI, 381 - 386 (1915).


  1. See Ernst and Hsu (2001) for an English translation of Voigt (1887).
  2. Lorentz (1909) had a similar interpretation of what Voigt has shown, that the transformation "does not alter the form of the equations for the free ether" (see footnote below).
  3. For the contributions of Larnor, Lorentz and Poincare see Macrossan, M. N. "A note on relativity before Einstein", British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 37 (1986): 232-234.
  4. Lorentz (1909, p. 198) wrote:
    'In a paper "Uber das Doppler'sche Princip" published in 1887 (Gött. Nachrichten, p. 41) and which to my regret has escaped my notice all these years, Voigt has applied to equations of the form ... nabla^2psi - c^{-2}partial^2psi/partial t^2=0 ... a transformation equivalent to the formulae ... x^prime = gammaellleft(x - wtright), y^prime = ell y, z^prime = ell z, t^prime = gammaellleft(t - wx/c^2right)... The idea of the transformations used above [i.e the Lorentz transformations] might therefore have been borrowed from Voigt and the proof that it does not alter the form of the equations for the free ether is contained in that paper.'
    The Lorentz transformations are equations (285), (287) and (288) in Lorentz (1909). Lorentz's factor ell was an arbitrary function of w / c. For ell = gamma^{-1} we have Voigt's transformation. Note that Lorentz (1904) determined that ell = 1, but also showed some general properties of the transformation for arbitrary ell.
  5. Note also that Voigt's transformation indicates length expansion or dilation in the y and z directions and therefore does not satisfy the principle or relativity. That is, absolute motion could be detected by measuring if a hole became larger or smaller when the plate was moved in the direction normal to the plate. Such an experimental result, if seen, could have decided in favor of Voigt's ell = gamma^{-1}, rather than Lorentz's ell = 1 In order to make Lorentz's transformations form a group, Poincaré (1905) put Lorentz's ell=1, a result Lorentz had derived by a different argument.

  Results from FactBites:
Woldemar Voigt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (836 words)
Woldemar Voigt (September 2, 1850 - December 13, 1919) was a German physicist.
Voigt profile and Voigt notation are named after Voigt.
Voigt's work was far ahead of its time and went apparently un-noticed by all those who contributed to the development of special relativity (George FitzGerald and Oliver Heaviside, Joseph Larmor, Hendrik Lorentz, Henri Poincaré and Albert Einstein)
Voigt notation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (339 words)
In mathematics, Voigt notation or Voigt form in multilinear algebra is a way to represent a symmetric tensor by reducing its order.
In Voigt notation it is simplified to a 6-dimensional vector:
Voigt notation enables that to be simplified to a 6×6 matrix.
  More results at FactBites »



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