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Sound absorption in sea water


Giving a lecture on sound velocity in heavy water
Manfred Eigen Scientist
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I went on with my thesis. But during my thesis, as I told you, I measured the specific heat in a closed vessel, that means the specific heat under the saturation pressure of that and the quantity you have to record and compare is either a specific heat at constant volume or a specific heat defined at constant pressure, Cp or Cv, so you have to calculate from that knowing the saturation pressure, you have to calculate it, and in order to do so you have to know the density of water very precisely and you have to know the compressibility of water.  And the compressibility can be measured most elegantly by measuring the sound velocity because the sound velocity is related to the square root of the compressibility of the water.

So Eucken at that time told me I should go to the Third Physical Institute because they were experts in sound measurement with ultrasonic waves. So I measured sound velocity in heavy water with ultrasonic waves and got all these data, but by that I got to know my colleagues there. There was Konrad Tamm and Günther Kurtze.  And so it happened that after I finished my thesis, and after Eucken had died, the physicist Richard Becker invited me to give a colloquium in the famous Monday afternoon physics colloquium. And at the same time he had invited Tamm and Kurtze also to give a lecture on their work and they worked at that time on the sound absorption of sea water.

Nobel Prize winning German biophysical chemist, Manfred Eigen (1927-2019), was best known for his work on fast chemical reactions and his development of ways to accurately measure these reactions down to the nearest billionth of a second. He published over 100 papers with topics ranging from hydrogen bridges of nucleic acids to the storage of information in the central nervous system.

Listeners: Ruthild Winkler-Oswatitch

Ruthild Winkler-Oswatitsch is the eldest daughter of the Austrian physicist Klaus Osatitsch, an internationally renowned expert in gas dynamics, and his wife Hedwig Oswatitsch-Klabinus. She was born in the German university town of Göttingen where her father worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Aerodynamics under Ludwig Prandtl. After World War II she was educated in Stockholm, Sweden, where her father was then a research scientist and lecturer at the Royal Institute of Technology.

In 1961 Ruthild Winkler-Oswatitsch enrolled in Chemistry at the Technical University of Vienna where she received her PhD in 1969 with a dissertation on "Fast complex reactions of alkali ions with biological membrane carriers". The experimental work for her thesis was carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry in Göttingen under Manfred Eigen.

From 1971 to the present Ruthild Winkler-Oswatitsch has been working as a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen in the Department of Chemical Kinetics which is headed by Manfred Eigen. Her interest was first focused on an application of relaxation techniques to the study of fast biological reactions. Thereafter, she engaged in theoretical studies on molecular evolution and developed game models for representing the underlying chemical proceses. Together with Manfred Eigen she wrote the widely noted book, "Laws of the Game" (Alfred A. Knopf Inc. 1981 and Princeton University Press, 1993). Her more recent studies were concerned with comparative sequence analysis of nucleic acids in order to find out the age of the genetic code and the time course of the early evolution of life. For the last decade she has been successfully establishing industrial applications in the field of evolutionary biotechnology.

Tags: saturation pressure, specific heat, constant volume, constant pressure, Cp, Cv, Third Physical Institute, Third Institute of Physics, sound velocity, heavy water, ultrasonic waves, sound measurement, sound absorption, sea water, Arnold Eucken, Konrad Tamm, Günther Kurtze, Richard Becker

Duration: 2 minutes, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: July 1997

Date story went live: 24 January 2008