Johann Philipp Gustav von Jolly (1809 – 1884) was a German physicist and mathematician.
Jolly's Early Life
Jolly became well-known as an experimental physicist primarily through his instruments and methods for making measurements. He was of Hugeenot descent and his father, an army captain who later became a merchant, was for many years the mayor of Mannheim. Jolly attended the Gymnasium in Mannheim and, from 1829 to 1834, the universities of Heidelberg and Vienna, where he also studied technology and mechanics, and then concentrated on mathematics and physics in Berlin. He received his doctorate in 1834 from Heidelberg and qualified there as privatdocent in mathematics, physics, and technology. In 1839 he became professor of mathematics, and in 1846 he obtained the chair of physics. At heidelberg, Jolly was often consulted by J. R. von Mayer, the discoverer of the law of the conservation of energy. At that time Jolly was concerned with questions of osmosis. Although his idea that the same amounts by weight of salt and water are exchanged through a membrane did not prove to be correct, he nevertheless contributed substantially to the elucidation of this process.
An outstanding experimenter, Jolly was also able to present the fundamentals of the physics of the period in a readily understandable manner in his Prinzipien der Mechanik (1852). In 1854 he was called to the University of Munich, where he was popular teacher until his retirement shortly before his death. In addition, Jolly was an expert consultant for the reorganization of Bavaria’s technical schools, a member of the Bavarian commission on standards, and German representative at the international conference on the meter held at Paris in 1872. He was also a member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and longtime chairman of the Munich Geographical Society.