Christian Doppler and the Doppler effect



A summary is given of Doppler's life and career. He was born 180 years ago on November 29, 1803, in Salzburg, Austria. He died on March 17, 1853 in Venice. The effect bearing his name was first announced in a presentation before the Royal Bohemian Society of the Sciences in Prague on May 25, 1842. Doppler considered his work a generalization of the aberration theorem as discovered by Bradley. With it came the inference that the perception of physical phenomena can change with the state of motion of the observer. Acceptance of the principle was not without controversy. In 1852, the mathematician Petzval claimed that no useful scientific deductions can be made from Doppler's elementary equations. In 1860, Ernst Mach resolved the misunderstanding that clouded this controversy. The Doppler effect is alive and well. Its role in radio science and related disciplines is enumerated.