Sir Issac Newton
Johann Rudolf Wolf was born the 7th of July, 1816, in Flanden, Switzerland. Rudolf attended the University of Zurich where he studied Mathematics under Raabe. He continued his studies in Vienna and Berlin under the tutelage of men such as Encke, Crelle, Dirichlet, Poggendorf, and Steiner.
In 1839 he became a teacher of mathematics and physics at the University of Bern. He also became a professor of astronomy there in 1844.
Wolf became director of the Bern Observatory in 1847. And by 1855 he had accepted a chair of astronomy at both the University of Zürich and the Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich.
Interest in astronomy increased due to his work and an observatory opened in Zürich in 1864. Wolf was involved in trying to get the observatory started. He wanted to share his interest in astronomy with others so he felt this would be a good way to do it.
Wolf wrote a lot about his various theories. He wrote about his prime number theory and his theories on geometry as well as those on probability and statistics. His main contribution to science however was in relation to Sun research.
Connection to Sun Research
Wolf's connection to Sun research is a very important one, as he was the scientist who discovered the 11 year sunspot cycle and its connection with the geomagnetic activity of Earth.
In 1849 he created a system known as Wolf's sunspot numbers. This system is still in use today for studying solar activity by counting sunspots and sunspot groups.
Wolf's life was relatively long in comparison to other famous scientists, he died at the age of 77 on the 6th of December 1893 in Zürich, Switzerland.
©Copyright 1998 Elizabeth
Beckett, Holly Bernitt, and Vishwa Chandra.