Mach, Ernst

   A physicist and philosopher, Mach had a profound influence on Austrian science and culture generally. His teaching career at the University of Vienna was relatively brief, beginning in 1895 but severely curtailed by a serious stroke that he suffered three years later. Nevertheless, his work as a professor in both Graz, where he had lectured in mathematics, and Prague, where he had taught physics, had established him as an authority in both fields. Mach’s experiments in ballistics, for which he used photographs of projectile bullets, demonstrated that these objects created not one but two shock waves when they exceeded the speed of sound. The ratio between the speed of sound and airflow velocity, the so-called Mach number, is now used to determine the speed of supersonic airplanes. Mach deeply respected the scientific revolution of the 17th and 18th centuries for having purged study of the physical world science of what he believed to be misapplied notions of God, nature, and the soul. Nevertheless, he thought that these early experiments had not gone far enough. All true science, he argued, had to be reduced to formulae of measurement. Mach had little patience with what he called “pictorializations” such as atoms and ether, terms common in 19th-century scientific discourse. He took considerable pleasure in exposing false hypotheses in mechanics, optics, and acoustics held by his predecessors. Indeed, his research in this vein led him to be a pioneer in the history of science.
   Mach discounted theory of any kind, be it in physics or psychology. There is no more basis for accepting the ego as part of human psychic makeup than there is for accepting the a priori existence of number. The only knowledge of the world comes from our sensations and the stimuli they provoke. Man is therefore awash in an ocean of appearances that intellect can certainly analyze, order, and even remember, but cannot establish their irreducible reality.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mach,Ernst — Mach (mäk, mäKH), Ernst. 1838 1916. Austrian physicist and philosopher who played a central role in the development of logical positivism. His works include the influential Science of Mathematics (1883). * * * …   Universalium

  • Mach, Ernst — born Feb. 18, 1838, Chirlitz Turas, Moravia died Feb. 19, 1916, Haar, Ger. Austrian physicist and philosopher. After earning a doctorate in physics in 1860, he taught at the Universities of Vienna and Graz as well as Charles University in Prague …   Universalium

  • Mach , Ernst — (1838–1916) Austrian physicist Mach, who was born at Turas (now in the Czech Republic), had a somewhat unorthodox upbringing and education. His father was a man knowledgable in both the classics and the sciences who retired to farm near Vienna… …   Scientists

  • Mach, Ernst — (1838–1916) Austrian physicist and philosopher. Born in Turas, Mach studied at Vienna, and held chairs in mathematics at Graz, physics at Prague, and then history and theory of inductive science at Vienna. He is widely regarded as the major… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Mach, Ernst — ► (1838 1916) Físico y filósofo austríaco. Fue uno de los precursores de la teoría de la relatividad. * * * (18 feb. 1838, Chirlitz Turas, Moravia–19 feb. 1916, Haar, Alemania). Físico y filósofo austríaco. Después de obtener un doctorado en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Mach, Ernst — See Science ( …   History of philosophy

  • Мах Эрнст / Mach, Ernst — (1838 1916). Маха зачислили в разряд позитивистов, так как он считал, что ощущения составляют данные любой науки. С его точки зрения, всякая наука является наблюдательной, а первичные данные наблюдения это не что иное, как ощущения …   Психологическая энциклопедия

  • Mach — Mach, Ernst …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Mach — Ernst …   Scientists

  • Ernst Mach — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Ernst Mach Ernst Mach en 1900 Filosofía de occidente Filosofía del siglo XX …   Wikipedia Español

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