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Peter Salcher – Mach’s Corresponding Collaborator

  • Ana Alebic-JureticEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook book series (VCIY, volume 22)

Abstract

Among the nowadays well known and top physicists who collaborated with Ernst Mach, like Boltzmann and Einstein, there is one less known, almost forgotten – Dr. Peter Salcher, professor of physics and mechanics at i.&r. Naval Academy in Fiume (now Rijeka, Croatia).

Interestingly, it was Mach’s iniciative for collaboration, who sent him a letter with the proposal to make the experiment with flying bullet. That was the first of more than 150 letters written between Fiume and Prag, with description and discussion of the experimental results. According to the letters, Mach visited Fiume only once, in spring 1887. Though these experiments were decisive for Mach’s acouistic theory, the role of Salcher was forgotten. Even Einstein, in the obituary to Mach, mentioned students as collaborators in physical experiments, including those in acoustics (Költsch P, Schriftenreihe zur Geschichte der Akustik, Heft 6: Von der Luftsirene bis zur russichen Aeroakustik- der Strömungschall stimuliert die Akustik, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Akustik e.V., Berlin, pp 61–101, 2014). Subsequent to fiding the missing Mach’s leters, the role of Petar Salcher in early investigation of the gas dynamic and supersonic aerodynamic phenomena is mostly clarified. According to some scientists, who were involved in the subject, the Salcher’s role in the work was underrated and this injustice should be corrected, at least, giving his name to some unnamed phenomena in this area, if existed (Settle SG, Schlieren and shadowgraph techniques, Springer, Berlin, p 13, 2001). In my opinion, it would be better to return the name to the phenomena he himself observed (Salcher Lyra, today known as Mach Disk) and technical set-up he proposed (wind tunnel).

Besides this world known experiment, during his 35 years of teaching at the I&R. Naval Academy in Fiume, he was active in other fields of research, including very early experiments with X rays and its use in diagnostic purposes, meteorology and monitoring sea water radioactivity in the Kvarner bay. As one of the founders and active member of the Club for natural sciences in Fiume, he was also included in the social life of the town.

Keywords

Peter Salcher Rijeka/Fiume Acoustic experiments X rays Meteorology Sea radioactivity Club for natural sciences in Fiume (Rijeka) Röntgen apparatus 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Teaching Institute of Public Health/Faculty of MedicineUniversity of RijekaRijekaCroatia

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