Heinrich Kayser

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Heinrich Kayser
Heinrich Kayser.jpg
Born Heinrich Gustav Johannes Kayser
(1853-03-16)16 March 1853
Bingen am Rhein
Died 14 October 1940(1940-10-14) (aged 87)
Citizenship German
Fields Physicist, Spectroscopy
Institutions Technische Hochschule, Hannover
University of Bonn
Alma mater Sophie Gymnasium (Berlin)
University of Strasbourg
University of Berlin
Doctoral advisor Wilhelm Roentgen
Known for Helium in the Earth's atmosphere,
kayser unit
Influences Hermann von Helmholtz
Gustav Kirchhoff
Carl Runge
Notable awards ForMemRS[1]

Heinrich Gustav Johannes Kayser ForMemRS[1] (German: [ˈkaɪzɐ]; 16 March 1853 – 14 October 1940) was a German physicist and spectroscopist.[2]


Kayser was born at Bingen am Rhein. Kayser's early work was concerned with the characteristics of acoustic waves.[3] He discovered the occurrence of helium in the Earth's atmosphere in 1868 during a solar eclipse when he detected a new spectral line in the solar spectrum. In 1881 Kayser coined the word “adsorption”. Together with Carl Runge, he examined the spectra of chemical elements.[4][5][6] In 1905, he wrote a paper on electron theory.[7]

The kayser unit, associated with wavenumber, of the CGS system was named after him. He died at Bonn in 1940.



  1. ^ a b Herzberg, Gerhard (1955). "Heinrich Kayser 1853-1940". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 1: 135–126. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1955.0010. 
  2. ^ Matthias Dörries and Klaus Hentschel (eds.), Heinrich Kayser, Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben. Institut für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaft, Munich, 1996. ISBN 3-89241-019-4.
  3. ^ Mulligan, Joseph F. (January 1992). Doctoral oral examination of Heinrich Kayser, Berlin, 1879. American Journal of Physics. 60(1): 38.
  4. ^ Kayser, Heinrich, and C. Runge. (1890). Über die Spectren der Alkalien. Annalen der Physik 277(10): 302-320.
  5. ^ Kayser, H., & Runge, C. (1892). Über die Spektra der Elemente. Berliner Akademie, 1892.
  6. ^ Kayser, Heinrich, and Carl Runge. (1893). Uber die Spectren der elemente. Verlag der Könogl. Akademie der Wissenschaften.
  7. ^ Kayser, Heinrich. (1905). Die elektronentheorie. DC Heath & Company.