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Henrichsen, Sophus

Henrichsen, Sophus

(b. Kragerø Norway, 11 November 1845; d. Oslo, Norway, 21 December 1928)


Henrichsen’s father, Johan Georg Henrichsen, was an office manager; his mother was Sophie Septima Moe. In 1873, the year of his marriage to Julie Adolfine Marie Forsberg, he graduated from the Institute of Physics at the University of Kristiania (now Oslo) and became amanuensis there. From 1890 to 1920 he was senior master at the technical school in Kristiania.

Henrichsen was interested in all branches of science, but his main scientific achievements were measurements of the dependence of certain physical quantities on temperature. His first scientific work was an experimental determination of the relation between temperature and electric conductivity in a sulfuric acid solution.

The dependence of the specific heat of water on temperature was measured by several physicists in the last part of the nineteenth century, but their results differed to some extent. During a stay at Gustav Wiedemann’s institute at Leipzig in 1877–1878, Henrichsen carried out several such measurements by means of an improved Bunsen calorimter. His results were considered among the most reliable of his time. With his colleague S. Wleügel he also investigated the magnetic properties of many organic liquids; their findings led to general conclusions about how the magnetic properties of such liquids depend on their chemical constitutions and temperature. For these researches he received the crown prince’s gold medal from the University of Kristiania in 1887.

After 1890 Henrichsen devoted almost all his time to teaching and wrote several textbooks. He was a coeditor of a popular scientific journal, Nyt Tidsskrift for Fysik og Kemi, which was founded in 1896 and is still published.


Henrichsen’s most important papers are “Ueber die specifische Wärme des Wassers,” in Annalen der Physik und Chemie, 8 (1879), 83–92; and “Ueber den Magnetismus organischer Verbindungen,” ibid, 45 (1892), 38–54.

A secondary source is Norsk Biografisk Leksikon, VIII (1932), 25–27.

Kurt MØller Pedersen

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