Gustav Mie

Gustav Mie

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Gustav Adolf Feodor Wilhelm Ludwig Mie (29 September 1869 – 13 February 1957) was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...



Mie was born in Rostock
Rostock -Early history:In the 11th century Polabian Slavs founded a settlement at the Warnow river called Roztoc ; the name Rostock is derived from that designation. The Danish king Valdemar I set the town aflame in 1161.Afterwards the place was settled by German traders...

. From 1886 he studied mathematics and physics at the University of Rostock
University of Rostock
The University of Rostock is the university of the city Rostock, in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.Founded in 1419, it is the oldest and largest university in continental northern Europe and the Baltic Sea area...

. In addition to his major subjects, he also attended lectures in chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, zoology
Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

, geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

, mineralogy
Mineralogy is the study of chemistry, crystal structure, and physical properties of minerals. Specific studies within mineralogy include the processes of mineral origin and formation, classification of minerals, their geographical distribution, as well as their utilization.-History:Early writing...

, astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

 as well as logic and metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

. In 1889 he continued his studies at the University of Heidelberg and received a doctorate degree in mathematics at the age of 22.

In 1897 he got his Habilitation at the University of Göttingen in theoretical physics
Theoretical physics
Theoretical physics is a branch of physics which employs mathematical models and abstractions of physics to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena...

 and in 1902 became extraordinary professor for theoretical physics at the University of Greifswald. In 1917 he became full professor for experimental physics
Experimental physics
Within the field of physics, experimental physics is the category of disciplines and sub-disciplines concerned with the observation of physical phenomena in order to gather data about the universe...

 at Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. In 1924 he became Professor at the University of Freiburg, where he worked up to his retirement in 1935.

In Freiburg, during the Nazi dictatorship, Mie was member of the university opposition of the so-called "Freiburger Kreis" (Freiburg circle) and one of the participants of the original "Freiburger Konzil".

He died at Freiburg im Breisgau in 1957.


During his Greifswald years he worked on the computation of scattering of an electromagnetic wave by a homogeneous dielectric sphere, which was published in 1908 under the title of “Contributions to the optics of turbid media, particularly of colloidal metal solutions” in "Annalen der Physik
Annalen der Physik
Annalen der Physik is one of the oldest physics journals worldwide. The journal publishes original, peer-reviewed papers in the areas of experimental, theoretical, applied and mathematical physics and related areas...

". The term Mie scattering is still related to his name. Using Maxwell's electromagnetic theory
Maxwell's equations
Maxwell's equations are a set of partial differential equations that, together with the Lorentz force law, form the foundation of classical electrodynamics, classical optics, and electric circuits. These fields in turn underlie modern electrical and communications technologies.Maxwell's equations...

 applied to spherical Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 particles Gustav Mie provided a theoretical treatment of plasmon resonance
In physics, a plasmon is a quantum of plasma oscillation. The plasmon is a quasiparticle resulting from the quantization of plasma oscillations just as photons and phonons are quantizations of light and mechanical vibrations, respectively...

 absorption of Gold colloid
A colloid is a substance microscopically dispersed evenly throughout another substance.A colloidal system consists of two separate phases: a dispersed phase and a continuous phase . A colloidal system may be solid, liquid, or gaseous.Many familiar substances are colloids, as shown in the chart below...

s. The sharp absorption bands depend on the particle size and explain the change in colour that occurs as the size of the colloid nanoparticle
In nanotechnology, a particle is defined as a small object that behaves as a whole unit in terms of its transport and properties. Particles are further classified according to size : in terms of diameter, coarse particles cover a range between 10,000 and 2,500 nanometers. Fine particles are sized...

s is increased from 20 to 1600 nm. He wrote further important contributions to electromagnetism
Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

 and also to relativity theory
Theory of relativity
The theory of relativity, or simply relativity, encompasses two theories of Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity. However, the word relativity is sometimes used in reference to Galilean invariance....

. In addition he was employed on measurements units and finally developed his Mie system of units in 1910 with the basic units Volt
The volt is the SI derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference, and electromotive force. The volt is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta , who invented the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.- Definition :A single volt is defined as the...

, Ampere
The ampere , often shortened to amp, is the SI unit of electric current and is one of the seven SI base units. It is named after André-Marie Ampère , French mathematician and physicist, considered the father of electrodynamics...

, Coulomb and Second
The second is a unit of measurement of time, and is the International System of Units base unit of time. It may be measured using a clock....


Selected publications

  • Moleküle, Atome, Weltäther. Teubner-Verlag, 1904
  • Lehrbuch der Elektrizität und des Magnetismus. F. Enke, 1910; Enke-Verlag, 1943; Enke-Verlag, 1948
  • Die geistige Struktur der Physik. Gütersloh, 1934
  • Die göttliche Ordnung in der Natur. Furche-Verlag, 1946
  • Die Grundlagen der Mechanik. Enke-Verlag, 1950
  • Beiträge zur Optik trüber Medien, speziell kolloidaler Metallösungen. Annalen der Physik, Vierte Folge, Band 25, 1908, No. 3, pp. 377-445. Link:

External links