Max Abraham (March 26, 1875 – November 16, 1922) was a German physicist. Abraham was born in Danzig, Germany (now Gdańsk in Poland) to a family of Jewish merchants. Attending the University of Berlin, he studied under Max Planck. He graduated in 1897. For the next three years, Abraham worked as Planck's assistant.

From 1900 to 1909, Abraham worked at Göttingen as a privatdozent, an unpaid lecturing position.

Abraham developed his theory of the electron in 1902, in which he hypothesized that the electron was a perfect sphere with a charge divided evenly around its surface. Hendrik Lorentz (1899, 1904) and Albert Einstein (1905) developed a different theory which became more widely accepted; nevertheless, Abraham never gave up believing that his views were correct, since in his eyes they were based on "common sense".

In 1909 Abraham travelled to the United States to accept a position at the University of Illinois, but ended up returning to Göttingen after a few months. He was later invited to Italy by Tullio Levi-Civita, and found work as the professor of rational mechanics at the Politecnico di Milano university until 1914.

When World War I started, Abraham was forced to return to Germany. During this time he worked on the theory of radio transmission. After the war, he still was not allowed back into Milan, so until 1921 he worked at Stuttgart as the professor of physics at Technische Hochschule.

After his work at Stuttgart, Abraham accepted the position of chair in Aachen; however, before he started his work there he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He died on November 16, 1922 in Munich, Germany.

After his death, Max Born and Max von Laue wrote about him in an obituary: He loved his absolute aether, his field equations, his rigid electron just as a youth loves his first flame, whose memory no later experience can extinguish.[1]

Further information: History of special relativity, Mass-energy equivalence, and Lorentz ether theory


* Abraham, M. (1902). "Dynamik des Electrons". Göttinger Nachrichten: 20–41.

* Abraham, M. (1902). "Prinzipien der Dynamik des Elektrons". Physikalische Zeitschrift 4 (1b): 57–62.

* Abraham, M. (1903). "Prinzipien der Dynamik des Elektrons". Annalen der Physik 10: 105–179.

* Abraham, M. (1904). "Die Grundhypothesen der Elektronentheorie". Physikalische Zeitschrift 5: 576–579.

* Abraham, M. (1904). "Zur Theorie der Strahlung und des Strahlungsdruckes". Annalen der Physik 14: 236–287.

* Abraham, M. & Föppl. A. (1904). Theorie der Elektrizität: Einführung in die Maxwellsche Theorie der Elektrizität. Leipzig: Teubner.

* Abraham, M. (1905). Theorie der Elektrizität: Elektromagnetische Theorie der Strahlung. Leipzig: Teubner.

* Abraham, M. (1912). "Relativitaet und Gravitation. Erwiderung auf eine Bemerkung des Herrn A. Einstein". Annalen der Physik 38: 1056–1058.

* Abraham, M. (1912). "Nochmals Relativitaet und Gravitation. Bemerkungen zu A. Einsteins Erwiderung". Annalen der Physik 39: 444–448.

* Abraham, M. (1914). "Die neue Mechanik". Scientia 15: 8–27.

Further reading

* Goldberg, Stanley (1970). "Abraham, Max". Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 23–25. ISBN 0684101149.


1. ^ Pais, Abraham (2005). Subtle is the Lord. Oxford University Press. p. 232. ISBN 0192806726.


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