Joseph von Fraunhofer
- Category : Science-Physics
- Type : PE
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Dominion 1
German physicist who first studied the dark lines of the Sun’s spectrum, now known as Fraunhofer lines. He also was the first to use extensively the diffraction grating, a device that disperses light more effectively than a prism does. His work set the stage for the development of spectroscopy.
He was the tenth and last son of a poor glass-grinder who was unable to give his boy even the rudiments of knowledge. At the age of twelve he lost both parents. The house where he worked collapsed in 1801, burying the boy under the ruins, but not injuring him fatally. This fortunate accident brought him to the notice of court-councilor von Utzschneider, who gave him books on mathematics and optics, and also interested King Max Joseph in him who supported him.
In 1819 Fraunhofer was appointed professor royal. The University of Erlangen gave him the degree of Ph.D., honoris causâ in 1822. The following year he was appointed conservator of the physical cabinet of the academy at Munich.
Like many glassmakers of his era who were poisoned by heavy metal vapors, Fraunhofer died young, on 7 June 1826 at the age of 39.
The German Fraunhofer society (Fraunhofer Society for the advancement of applied research) is named after him. It is the largest organisation in Germany for applied research and employs over 20'000 people.