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Wilhelm Robert Karl Anderson (28 October [O.S. 16 October] 1880 – 26 March 1940) was a Russian-Estonian astrophysicist of Baltic German descent who studied the physical structure of the stars.

Wilhelm Anderson
Wilhelm Anderson.jpg
Wilhelm Anderson in Tartu
Wilhelm Robert Karl Anderson

28 October [O.S. 16 October] 1880
DiedMarch 26, 1940(1940-03-26) (aged 59)
NationalityRussian, Estonian, German
Alma mater
Known for
Scientific career
ThesisDie physikalische Natur der Sonnenkorona


Wilhelm Anderson was born in Minsk (now in Belarus) into a Baltic German family.[1] His younger brothers were the well known mathematician Oskar Anderson (1887-1960) and the folklorist Walter Anderson (1885-1962). Anderson spent some of his youth in Kazan, where his father Nikolai Anderson (1845-1905) was a university professor for Finno-Ugric languages.[2]

He studied at the University of Kazan, where he graduated from the department of mathematics and science in 1909. Between 1910 and 1920, he worked as a physics teacher first in Samara and then from 1918 in Minsk.[3] Together with his brother Walter Anderson, he moved to Tartu (Estonia) in 1920. At the University of Tartu, he first gained a Masters degree in Astronomy in 1923 and then a Doctorate in 1927.[4] In 1934 he became a habilitation candidate at the university, and in 1936 he received an assistant professorship there, but early in 1939 he suffered a mental breakdown which left him unable to work.[1]. Like the majority of Baltic Germans, he was resettled to Germany in late 1939, where he died in the Sanatorium of Meseritz-Obrawalde, shortly thereafter. It has been suggested that Anderson may have been a victim of the National Socialist "euthanasia" program.[1]

Anderson is probably best known for his work on the mass limit for a white dwarf (one of the final evolutionary states of a star),[5] extending Edmund Stoner's earlier work [6] by relativistic amplification (1929, Tartu),[7][8][1] which was in turn further improved by Stoner.[9][10] The Stoner-Anderson equation of state, a result of Anderson's correspondence with Stoner, is named after him.[11] The white dwarf mass limit was further refined by Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and is now known as the Chandrasekhar limit.[12][9]

Work (selection)Edit

  • Über die Existenzmöglichkeit von kosmischem Staube in der Sonnenkorona. Zeitschrift für Physik 28, Berlin, 1924.[13]
  • Die physikalische Natur der Sonnenkorona. PhD Thesis published in six parts in Zeitschrift für Physik (in German): I. ZS. f. Phys. 33, 1925,[14] II. ZS. f. Phys. 34, 1925,[15] III. ZS. f. Phys. 35, 1926,[16] IV. ZS. f. Phys. 37, 1926,[17] V. ZS. f. Phys. 38, 1926,[18] VI. ZS. f. Phys. 41, 1927,[19]
  • Gewöhnliche Materie und strahlende Energie als verschiedene "Phasen" eines und desselben Grundstoffes. Zeitschrift für Physik 54, Berlin, 1929.
  • Über die Grenzdichte der Materie und der Energie. Zeitschrift für Physik 56, Berlin, 1929.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Kuusk, P. [et], Martinson, I. [et], Eelsalu, H. [et]; translated by Groote, S. (1997), "Wilhelm Robert Karl Anderson", Reprints at the Tartu Observatory Virtual Museum, Tartu Observatooriumi Virtuaalne Muuseum, retrieved 2018-10-18CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "Формулярный списокь (service record): Николай Андерсон (Nikolai Anderson)", Oskar Nikolaevich Anderson (1907-1912) (in Russian), St. Petersburg: Archives of the Petrograd Polytechnical Institute of the Emperor Peter the Great in the Central State Historical Archives of St. Petersburg, pp. 9–18, retrieved 2018-10-19
  3. ^ Рафикова (Rafikova), Г. (G.); Ибрагимова (Ibrahimova), Ф. (F.) (2016). "Биографика Казанского университета: Андерсоны (Kazan University Biography: Anderson)". "Гасырлар авазы – Эхо веков" (in Russian). 2016 1/2.
  4. ^ "Matrikli Nr. 3300 (Matriculation Number 3300)". Album Academicum Universitatis Tartuensis 1918-1944 (in Estonian). Rahvusarhiiv (Estonian National Archives). Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  5. ^ Blackman, E. (2006), "Giants of physics found white-dwarf mass limits", Nature (published 2006-03-09), 440 (7081): 148, Bibcode:2006Natur.440..148B, doi:10.1038/440148d, PMID 16525442
  6. ^ Stoner, Edmund C. (1929). "The limiting density in white dwarf stars". Philosophical Magazine. Series 7. 7 (41): 63–70. doi:10.1080/14786440108564713.
  7. ^ Kuusk, P.; Martinson, I. (1997), "Tartu astrofüüsik Wilhelm Anderson", Akadeemia (in Estonian), 2: 358–375, retrieved 2018-10-18
  8. ^ a b Anderson, Wilhelm (1929). "Über die Grenzdichte der Materie und der Energie". Zeitschrift für Physik (in German). 56 (11–12): 851–856. doi:10.1007/bf01340146. ISSN 0044-3328.
  9. ^ a b Nauenberg, Michael (2008). "Edmund C. Stoner and the Discovery of the Maximum Mass of White Dwarfs" (PDF). Journal for the History of Astronomy. 39 (3): 297–312. Bibcode:2008JHA....39..297N. doi:10.1177/002182860803900302.
  10. ^ Stoner, Edmund C. (1930). "The equilibrium of dense stars". Philosophical Magazine. Series 7. 9 (60): 944–963. doi:10.1080/14786443008565066.
  11. ^ Thomas, Edwin G. (2011). "Edmund Stoner and white dwarf stars". Philosophical Magazine. 91 (26): 3416–3422. Bibcode:2011PMag...91.3416T. doi:10.1080/14786435.2011.586377.
  12. ^ Kip S. Thorne (1994). Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy. W.W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-31276-8.
  13. ^ Anderson, Wilhelm (1924). "Über die Existenzmöglichkeit von kosmischem Staube in der Sonnenkorona". Zeitschrift für Physik (in German). 28 (1): 299–324. doi:10.1007/bf01327186. ISSN 0044-3328.
  14. ^ Anderson, Wilhelm (1925). "Die physikalische Natur der Sonnenkorona. I". ZS. F. Phys (in German). 33 (1): 273–301. Bibcode:1925ZPhy...33..273A. doi:10.1007/BF01328312. ISSN 0044-3328.
  15. ^ Anderson, Wilhelm (1925). "Die physikalische Natur der Sonnenkorona. II". ZS. F. Phys (in German). 34 (1): 453–473. Bibcode:1925ZPhy...34..453A. doi:10.1007/BF01328489. ISSN 0044-3328.
  16. ^ Anderson, Wilhelm (1926). "Die physikalische Natur der Sonnenkorona. III". ZS. F. Phys (in German). 35 (10): 757–775. Bibcode:1926ZPhy...35..757A. doi:10.1007/BF01386043. ISSN 0044-3328.
  17. ^ Anderson, Wilhelm (1926). "Die physikalische Natur der Sonnenkorona. IV". ZS. F. Phys (in German). 37 (4–5): 342–366. Bibcode:1926ZPhy...37..342A. doi:10.1007/BF01397106. ISSN 0044-3328.
  18. ^ Anderson, Wilhelm (1926). "Die physikalische Natur der Sonnenkorona. V". ZS. F. Phys (in German). 38 (6–7): 530–548. Bibcode:1926ZPhy...38..530A. doi:10.1007/BF01397172. ISSN 0044-3328.
  19. ^ Anderson, Wilhelm (1927). "Die physikalische Natur der Sonnenkorona. VI". ZS. F. Phys (in German). 41 (1): 51–80. Bibcode:1927ZPhy...41...51A. doi:10.1007/BF01454763. ISSN 0044-3328.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit