August Ferdinand Mobius was born on this day in Schulpforta, Saxony (Germany) in 1790. Today is the 222nd anniversary of his birth.
Möbius was an only child whose father died when he was just three years old. Möbius was home schooled until he was 13 when he went to the College of Schulpforta. He went to the University of Leipzig to study Law, but after about a half a year’s study he switch to his real calling of math, astronomy and physics.
He went on to study astronomy at the Gottingen Observatory in 1813. Then he went to Halle where he cemented his studies in mathematics.
In 1815 Moebius wrote his doctoral these on The occultation of fixed stars and began work on his Habilitation thesis… on Trigonometrical equations …he was appointed to the chair of astronomy and higher mechanics at the University of Leipzig in 1816. [Mac Tutor History — Möbius biography]
He became a full professor in astronomy at Leipzig in 1844 where he held the post of “Observer at the Observatory at Leipzig.” [Ibid] He supervised the rebuilding of the Observatory and became the director in 1884.
Möbius published several important papers in both astronomy and math. His…
1827 work Der barycentrische Calcul, on analytical geometry, became a classic and includes many of his results on projective and affine geometry. In it … He introduced a configuration now called a Möbius Net, which was to play an important role in the development of projective geometry. [Ibid]
He is best known for the Möbius Strip or Möbius Band — “a two-dimensional surface with only one side. ” [Mac Tutor History — Mobius biography]
Giant Möbius Strips have been used as conveyor belts (to make them last longer, since “each side” gets the same amount of wear) and as continuous-loop recording tapes (to double the playing time). In the 1960’s Sandia Laboratories used Möbius Strips in the design of versatile electronic resistors.[bellevuecollege.edu]
Möbius died at age 77 in Leipzig.