Heinrich Barkhausen

Physicist, Academic

1881 – 1956

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Who was Heinrich Barkhausen?

Heinrich Georg Barkhausen, born at Bremen, was a German physicist.

Born into a patrician family in Bremen, he showed interest in natural sciences from an early age. He studied at the Technical University of Munich, TU Berlin and University of Munich and Berlin before obtaining a doctorate at the University of G├Âttingen in 1907.

He became Professor for Electrical Engineering at the Technische Hochschule Dresden in 1911 at the age of 29, thus obtaining the world's first chair in this discipline.

He discovered in 1919 an effect named after him, the Barkhausen effect, which provided evidence for the magnetic domain theory of ferromagnetism. When the magnetic field through a piece of ferromagnetic material like iron is changing, the magnetization of the material changes in a series of tiny discontinuous jumps, which can be heard as a series of clicks in a loudspeaker attached to a coil of wire around the iron. It was later determined that these jumps were caused by the movement of the magnetic domains in the iron, as the domain walls snap past defects in the crystal lattice. The energy lost in these dissipative events is responsible for the shape of the hysteresis curve of iron and other ferromagnets. This effect is widely used in research, and physics education as a simple experiment to demonstrate the reality of magnetic domains.

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Dec 2, 1881
  • Germany
  • Technical University of Munich
Feb 20, 1956

on July 23, 2013


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