Ernst Mach

  • Birth

    Born in Moravia
  • Period: to

    Studied Physics and Mathematics

    Studied at the University of Vienna
  • Period: to

    In depth Study of the Doppler Effect

    Mach devised a simple apparatus that demonstrated that the Doppler effect was real, at least for sound. A six-foot tube with a whistle at one end was mounted so as to rotate in a vertical plane. When the listener stood in the plane of the axis of rotation no changes in pitch could be heard. But if the observer stood in the plane of rotation, fluctuations in pitch that corresponded to the speed of rotation could be heard.
  • Mach Bands

    Mach Bands
    In 1865 Mach published, “On the effect of the spatial distribution of the light stimulus on the retina,” the first of a series of remarkable articles on what are now known today as Mach Bands. The thin dark bands along the outer edges of the gradients and the thin light bands along the inner edges of the gradients are optical illusions. The cause of this effect is due to contrast perception; we over process at boundaries and under process where there is constancy.
  • Worked out the details of supersonic motion

    Worked out the details of supersonic motion
    By 1885 Mach had worked out the details of supersonic motion, along the way developing high-speed photographic techniques. Most importantly for engineers, Mach Number is the ratio of the speed of the object to the speed of sound in the given medium; his work is essential to modern aerodynamics, and through it the word ‘Mach’ has bizarrely entered into popular culture as an icon for razors, sound systems, fighter pilots, and high speed fuels.
  • Captured Shock Waves with Photography

    Captured Shock Waves with Photography
    Used photography to capture the shock waves of a bullet.
  • Period: to

    Chair - History and Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences at Vienna

  • Retirement

    Ernst Mach retired in 1901, but was also appointed as a member of the Austrian Parliament and was known as a reformer. His intellectual influence amongst leftists was so great that Lenin wrote a book, Materialism and Empirico-Criticism, criticizing Machian anti-materialism
  • Passed Away

    Passed Away
    In philosophy, he is best known for his influence upon the Vienna Circle (a predecessor of which was named the Ernst Mach Verein), for his famous anti-metaphysical attitude (which developed into the verifiability theory of meaning), for his anti-realist stance in opposition to atomism, and in general for his positivist-empiricist approach to epistemology. Mach more than anyone else bridged the divide; he is a founder of the philosophy of science.
  • Einstein Coined "Mach's Principle"

    Mach’s arguments had a profound effect on Albert Einstein, who devised the general theory of relativity largely to abolish the idea of absolute motion, and indeed it was Einstein who, in 1918, coined the phrase “Mach’s Principle.” The basis of Einstein’s general theory was his observation that the gravitational force the Earth exerts on you is canceled out in a freely falling elevator