Vita Ferdinand Braun

Karl Ferdinand Braun

* June 06, 1850, in Fulda (Germany)
† April 20, 1918, in Brooklyn/New York (USA)

Ferdinand Braun was an experimental physicist during the period of Wilhelmian Germany. He worked on thermodynamics, electrochemistry, and electrical instruments. Ferdinand Braun discovered the rectifier effect in semiconductors, built the first cathode-ray tube oscilloscope and developed a crystal detector for wireless telegraphy. For this invention, he received the Nobel Prize for physics, together with Marconi. Braun decisively supported the activities to establish engineering sciences at universities. He was not only a scientist but also a co-founder of the company "Telefunken", where he brought his research results into application. In this way, Ferdinand Braun was also a pioneer in the field of technology transfer.

1868 - 1872


University studies at Marburg and Berlin

1870 - 1874


Research assistant in Berlin and Würzburg

1874 - 1877


High-school teacher in Leipzig

    rectifier effect in semiconductors (1874)

1877 - 1880


Senior lecturer (professor) in Marburg

1880 - 1883


Senior lecturer (professor) in Strasbourg

1883 - 1885


Professor at the University of Karlsruhe

    electrical pyrometer (1884)

1885 - 1895


Professor at the University of Tübingen

    planned and established the Physical Institute (1885 - 1889)
Le Chatelier-Braun principle; the Braun electrometer (1887)

1895 - 1918


Professor at the University of Strasbourg

    demonstration of the first cathode-ray oscilloscope (1897)
wireless telegraphy (1898)
founded Telefunken company in Berlin (1903)
president of the university (1905)
development of the first crystal radio receiver (1906)
Nobel Prize for physics for "contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy" (1909)
journey to New York City on behalf of the German Reich (1914)

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