Monday, February 22, 2010
Christian Doppler Week!
As many of you are aware, the Doppler Effect was first identified in 1842 by Austrian physicist Christian Doppler in his absolutely cracking work Über das farbige Licht der Doppelsterne und einiger anderer Gestirne des Himmels.
However, I realise some may be unfamiliar with this seminal piece, so in the interest of promoting the groundbreaking work of Herr Doppler, I provide a brief summary.
The Doppler Effect is that effect when the pitch of a sound coming from a moving object – say, the horn on a train – appears to change even though passengers on said train would hear no alteration. This is because the sound waves ahead of the train from the horn are compressed while the waves behind the train are elongated, thus producing this apparent change.
It can also apply to astronomy, where galaxies moving towards our solar system are observed to be a different colour than those galaxies moving away from us; a process known as Doppler colour-shifting.
Now, thanks to Christian Doppler, we can talk with some confidence about “the Doppler Effect” instead of mumbling pathetically about “that weirdo thing with the train horn.”
Please, there’s no need to thank me.