Tag Archive for 'Wilhelm Ostwald'

Ostwald and the net

Wilhelm Ostwald’s philosophy of nature was first published in English under the title “Natural Philosophy” (translated by Thomas Seltzer, New York, Holt, 1910). “The original of this book was published as volume I in Reclam’s Bücher der Naturwissenschaft.” Ostwald about the net of knowledge: The same is true of an individual. No matter how limited […]

The private library of Wilhelm Ostwald in Großbothen

Ostwald’s private library in Großbothen, Saxony – itself a symbol of harmony and order!

Combinatoris and the philosophy of nature

After describing how concepts or terms could be combined, Ostwald noted in a book about the philosophy of nature: “The laws of combinatorics even allow it to decompose an area of research formally and exhaustively in its branches and fields of research by initially locating empirically the elements of the domain and then by exhaustively […]

Wilhelm Ostwald and the Bauhaus

In the Twenties Ostwald got contact to members of the Bauhaus, e.g. to Walter Gropius. He gave talks at the Bauhaus in Dessau in 1927. The same year he was invited to join the Bauhaus board of trustees. Nevertheless most of the Bauhaus members remained offish to his ideas. Albrecht Pohlmann, ‘Wilhelm Ostwald: Farbe im […]

Wilhelm Ostwald and the Werkbund

In 1912 Ostwald joined the Werkbund which aimed at standardising industrial design. He published a paper on “standards” in the yearbook of the Werkbund in which he called art a “social product” which made it necessary to standardise it. Wilhelm Ostwald, ‘Normen’, Jahrbuch des Deutschen Werkbundes 3 (1914) 77-86

Organisation of scholarly work

In 1911 Ostwald founded with Karl Wilhelm Bührer “Die Brücke [The Bridge]”, an “International Institute for the Orga-ni-zation of Intellectual Work” which tried to build a comprehensive, illustrated encyclopedia on sheets of standardized formats and to improve and organize scholarly information and communication. As a “World Brain”, as Ostwald called the Bridge, it should connect […]

Theory of forms

In connection with his color theory Ostwald was also engaged in the “harmony of forms”. Using the rules he developed Ostwald created ornaments and new forms “according the laws of combinatorics” which were “all beautiful, without any exception”! Wilhelm Ostwald, Die Welt der Formen : Entwicklung und Ordnung der gesetzlich schönen Gebilde (Leipzig 1922). Wilhelm […]

Wilhelm Ostwald and De Stijl

In the first volume of the journal De Stijl a review on Ostwald’s colour theory was published. Two years later De Stijl published Ostwalds paper on the “Harmony of colors”, whose German edition had been published in the journal “Innendekoration”. De Stijl. Edited by Theo van Doesburg. Leiden, 1917-1932. 8 volumes (90 numbers). Wilhelm Ostwald, […]

Wilhelm Ostwald

Wilhelm Ostwald, 1853 (Riga, Latvia) – 1932 (Leipzig, Germany) was one of the founders and the organizer of the discipline ‘physical chemistry’ at the end of the 19th century. He worked from 1887 until 1906 as professor in Leipzig, received the 1909 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on catalysis, equilibria and rates of […]

Combinatorics and creativity by Wilhelm Ostwald

“Combinatorics doesn’t replace productive imagination only, but is superior to it!” So creativity included for Ostwald not only “productive imagination” but also “combinatorics”. From his view ideas and discoveries are often only “a novel combination of existing components”. Newly-discovered facts in scientific research also has to be combined with diverse existing facts to create new […]