Karl Herzfeld Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


Karl Herzfeld

Birthday :

February 24, 1892

Died On :

June 3, 1978

Birth Place :

Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Zodiac Sign :


Karl Herzfeld hailed as an all in one person. He was notably known as a promising physicist, soldier, author and a staunch humanitarian. Karl fell in love with Physics at his tender age. Without further ado, this is what paved the way for his significant research on ultrasonic, kinetic theory, three states of matter and thermodynamics. Fame and admiration followed his path, all thanks to his contribution in the field of science.

At his middle age, Karl Herzfeld opted to share his up skill talent with different institutions including the Fordham University and American University. It was also the same time that he published over 140 articles with an escort of 14 books. Throughout his career, he managed to cover compelling topics including the foundation of thermodynamics among others. Subsequently, he fell in love with the philosophy where he loved to spend time at the Catholic University.

Childhood And Early Life

On 24th February 1892, a duo called Camilla Herzfeld and Charles August were blessed with their first born child in Vienna. He was none other than Karl Ferdinand Herzfeld whose childhood life was coupled with no challenges but august life.

In search of his inborn talent, Karl Herzfeld attended several schools including the Benedictine Order of the Roman Catholic Church. Not to mention he also had a chance to join the Schottes Gymnasium. At 18 years old, Karl enrolled at the University of Vienna where he majored in chemistry and physics. 

Karl Herzfeld furthered his studies at the University of Zurich and later at ETH Zurich. It was there that he met Otto Stern a physicist. Stern played a significant role in Karl’s career where he taught everything that dealt with thermodynamics. In 1913 Karl joined the University of Gottingen for a year. It was there that he met Albert Einstein. Afterward, Karl received his doctorate at the University of Vienna.



After receiving his doctorate, Karl Herzfeld joined the Austro-Hungarian Army in the course of WWI. It was in 1914 that Karl was appointed as the First Lieutenant of Artillery. He then went back to his native land in 1920 where he became a member of the University of Munich.

Early in 1925, Karl Herzfeld authored a book called the Kinetic Theory of Heat. The following year he moved to the USA where he met Professor John Hopkins at the Baltimore Varsity. After a year, he got a seat as the Physics professor at the said Varsity. Herzfeld partnered with Francis O. Rice where they did the fact-finding analysis.

As a duo, the two proved their study in their 1928 thesis. They illustrated the transfer of energy between gas molecules and ultrasonic waves. In the 1930s he partnered with H.M Smallwood, a chemist. The two studied the kinetic theory of liquids and gases. Their end illustration was published in 1931- the liquid state and imperfect gases.

Under the guidance of his teams such as James Frank and Geoppert-Mayer, Karl Herzfeld published two articles. In 1936 he was appointed as a professor of the Catholic University of America. In the course of WWII, he worked for the United States military.


Later Career

In 1940s Karl Herzfeld opted to focus on the quantum mechanical calculations. The following year she partnered with several professors such as Theodore A. Litovitz. The two published a book titled Dispersion and Absorption of Ultrasonic Waves. In 1961 he was reinstated as the Chairman of Physical at the Catholic University.

Karl’s immense service at the US Navy earned him the United States Navy’s Meritorious Citation. In 1966 Karl was a happy man since his last article got published by the Acoustical Society of America Journal. It was the only piece that summarized the study of ultrasounds. In 1969 he was honored as Professor Emeritus at the Catholic University. He remained in the position till when he met his creator.


Personal Life And Achievements

As a promising and fervent physics, Karl Herzfeld was awarded Mendel Medal in 1930s. After several years he received the Sechi Medal from the Georgetown University. When it comes to his personal life, Karl Herzfeld tied a nuptial knot with Regina Flannery in 1938. Sad to say he breathed his last on 3rd, June at 86 years of age.

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