Karl Schwarzschild (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Schwarzschild developed a new use for photography, as a tool for measuring the brightness of stars, particularly variable objects. He was the first scientist to develop a solution for Albert Einstein’s general relativity field equations, dealing with gravity around a star of such intensity that it becomes a black hole, surrounded by a boundary known as the Schwarzschild radius.
Karl Schwarzschild was the eldest child of six children. His father, a prosperous businessman in Frankfurt, encouraged Karl’s early interest in science, particularly astronomy. He was the first of his family to be interested in science; indeed, he wrote and published his first two astronomical papers, on the topic of double-star orbits, when he was only sixteen. While in school, he was introduced to J. Epstein, a mathematician with a private observatory. From Epstein’s son, Schwarzschild learned to make and to use a telescope, and studied advanced mathematics and celestial mechanics. After education at the local level, he spent two years at the University of Strasbourg (1891), then two more at the University of Munich. He received his doctorate from that university in 1896, graduating summa cum laude. The thesis for his Ph.D. was on the application of the theory of stable configurations in rotating bodies, developed by Henri Poincaré, to investigations of tidal deformation in satellites and the validity of...
(The entire section is 2218 words.)
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