Marking the 200th birthday of Gustav Robert Kirchhoff

Gustav Kirchhoff (1824 to 1887) not only paved the way for modern astrophysics, but also environmental physics, modern atomic and molecular physics, chemistry and quantum physics still use spectroscopy today. And without Kirchhoff's rules for electrical networks, chip development and the analysis of electrical circuits would be inconceivable.

The Ruperto Carola lecture series in the 2024 summer semester marks the 200th birthday of Gustav Kirchhoff, who researched and taught as a professor at Heidelberg University for more than 20 years. It will provide a historical introduction to Kirchhoff's life and work as well as give insights into areas of modern research that are still influenced by Kirchhoff's work today. For example, the lecture series includes a look at the James Webb Space Telescope, the construction and development of which utilised several of Kirchhoff's achievements: The satellite has various spectrographs on board, Kirchhoff's plate theory for the development of the telescope mirrors was used, and Kirchhoff's radiation laws played a role in the optimisation of the solar shield.

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