Gustav Zeuner

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Gustav Anton Zeuner (30 November 1828 – 17 October 1907) was a German physicist, engineer and epistemologist, considered the founder of technical thermodynamics and of the Dresden School of Thermodynamics.


University and Revolution

Zeuner was born in Chemnitz, Saxony. His first training in the subject of engineering was at the Chemnitz Königliche Gewerbeschule (Royal Vocational School), today Chemnitz University of Technology, where he studied from 1843-1848.

In 1848 he moved the short distance to the Bergakademie (Mining Academy) in Freiberg, today also a university of technology, where he studied mining and metallurgy. He developed close links with one of his professors, the famous mineralogist Albin Julius Weisbach, with whom he worked on several projects.

The university course was disrupted, however, during the revolutions which took place all over Germany. Large popular assemblies and mass demonstrations took place, primarily demanding freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, arming of the people, and a national German parliament. Zeuner joined the revolutionaries on the barricades in Dresden during the May Uprising in 1849. Unlike many of his compatriots, some of whom were sentenced to death or sent to the workhouse, Zeuner was pardoned. He was able to complete his course, and even completed his PhD at the University of Leipzig in 1853, but was banned from ever teaching at any Saxon university.

Escape to Zürich

In 1853, Zeuner took over as the...
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