|The University of Berlin, about 1850, the home to the Berlin school of thermodynamics. |
In 1831, German chemist and physicist Heinrich Magnus, who previously had studied at Berlin, but then ventured to to Stockholm to work under Swedish chemist Jacob Berzelius, and later to Paris, where he studied for a while under Frenchmen chemist and physicist Joseph Gay-Lussac and chemist Louis Thénard, returned to Berlin as lecturer on technology and physics at the university of Berlin. In 1834 he became assistant professor of physics and technology in the university there and in 1845 was appointed professor.
Among other subjects he studied include: the expansion of gases by heat (1841–1844), the vapor pressures of water and various solutions (1844–1854), thermoelectricity (1851), electrolysis (1856), induction of currents (1858-1861), conduction of heat in gases (1860), polarization of heat (1866–1868) and the deflection of projectiles from firearms. From 1861 onwards he devoted much attention to the question of diathermancy in gases and vapours, especially to the behavior in this respect of dry and moist air, and to the thermal effects produced by the condensation of moisture on solid surfaces.
In 1844, German Rudolf Clausius graduated from the University of Berlin where he studied mathematics and physics under Magnus, among others. In 1847, after receiving his doctorate from the University of Halle, Clausius became professor of physics at the Royal Artillery and Engineering School in Berlin and Privatdozent at the Berlin University.
Between the years 1871, at which time Helmholtz became professor of physics at the university, to 1931, where Walther Nernst formulated his theory on the zero entropy condition at at absolute zero temperature, the University of Berlin was the world’s leading institute for thermodynamics and has science come to be known as the "Berlin school of thermodynamics".  All three fundamental principles, energy conservation by Hermann Helmholtz, the principle of entropy by Rudolf Clausius, and the zero entropy condition at absolute zero temperature by Nernst were established while their inventors were connected to this institute. 
|Clipping from the 1991 European Journal of Physics article “Grand Schools of Physics: The Berlin School of Thermodynamics founded by Helmholtz and Clausius” by Werner Ebeling and Dieter Hoffman. |
Helmholtz, together with Clausius, founded the Berlin School of Thermodynamics where he succeeded Heinrich Magnus as the director of the Physical Institute. The influence of this school on the development of thermodynamics was crucial; to name a few other famous scientists connected to this school: August Horstmann, a former student of Helmholtz, who was the first to incorporate Clausius' thermodynamical theories into chemistry, Max Planck, who seeded the quantum revolution on Boltzmann's statistical thermodynamics, Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, and Leo Szilard, to name a few. Between 1866 and 1869, American mathematical engineer Willard Gibbs spent a year each at Paris, Berlin, and Heidelberg, where he came into contact with Helmholtz and Clausius.
Two others connected with the Berlin school include German mathematician Constantin Caratheodory, a student at the university in 1900 and later a lecturer, and Hungarian-born American mathematician and chemical engineer John Neumann, who taught there between 1926 and 1930.
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2. Ebeling, W. and Hoffman, D. (1991). “Grand Schools of Physics: The Berlin School of Thermodynamics founded by Helmholtz and Clausius”, European. J. Phys., 12, 1-9.
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(b) Wolf, Stefan L. (2012). "Rudolf Clausius: a Pioneer of the Modern Theory of Heat" (pg. 3), Publication.