Aepinus, Franz Ulrich Theodosius

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Franz Ulrich Theodosius Aepinus (fränts ŏŏl´rĬkh tā´ōdō´zēŏŏs âpē´nŏŏs), 1724–1802, German physicist. He studied at Jena and Rostock and taught mathematics at Rostock from 1747 to 1755. After a brief stay in Berlin he went to St. Petersburg as professor of physics and academician, remaining there until 1798 and rising to a high position as courtier to Catherine the Great. He made experimental and theoretical contributions to the study of electricity, including work on the thermoelectric properties of tourmaline and the invention, with J. C. Wilche, of the air capacitor. A consideration of the implications of this device led him to reject then current mechanical theories of electricity and to elaborate in his Tentamen Theoriae Electricitatis et Magnetismi (1759) a theory of electrostatics similar to Newton's gravitational theory.