Julius Plücker

1801 (Elberfeld, Germany) – 1868 (Bonn)

Plücker did fundamental work in two very different fields: analytical geometry and cathode-ray physics (as well as in spectroscopy). Crelle promoted the young Plücker’s work, and helped him to an academic post, thus antagonising Plücker’s bête noire, the better-known but less original Steiner. Klein was Plücker’s doctoral student and assistant; he completed his unfinished work after his death. Plücker visited Wheatstone in his laboratory and saw his wave machine, corresponded with Faraday, was joined by Hittorf in his spectroscopic investigations, and served the visiting Helmholtz “remarkably good” wine.

Julius Plücker knew…