Mathematics and Statistics Colloquium
Eisso Atzema, University of Maine Orono
Ferdinand Engel (1805–1866) and his Models of the Fresnel Wave Surface
Monday, September 30, 2019, 4:00 PM, Davis 301
Refreshments at 3:30 PM, Davis 2nd floor
The end of the 19th century was the golden age of the production of mathematical models and of their use for educational purposes. The interest in mathematical models as a visualization aid, however, goes at least as far back as the first half of the 19th century. In this talk, I will discuss the early history of the visualization of mathematical surfaces and the manufacturing of physical models for such surfaces, culminating in a discussion of the work of Christian Gottlieb Ferdinand Engel (Magdeburg,1805–New York, 1866). In particular, I will discuss his prize-winning plaster models of the Fresnel Wave Surface still on display at the University of Mississippi. Along the way, I will talk about his work under Gustav Magnus at the University of Berlin and under Alexander Bache at the Coastal Survey in Washington DC.