ERMAN, PAUL (1764–1851), German physicist, was born in Berlin on the 29th of February 1764. He was the son of the historian Jean Pierre Erman (1735–1814), author of Histoire des réfugiés. He became teacher of science successively at the French gymnasium in Berlin, and at the military academy, and on the foundation of the university of Berlin in 1810 he was chosen professor of physics. He died at Berlin on the 11th of October 1851. His work was mainly concerned with electricity and magnetism, though he also made some contributions to optics and physiology. His son, Georg Adolf Erman (1806–1877), was born in Berlin on the 12th of May 1806, and after studying natural science at Berlin and Königsberg, spent from 1828 to 1830 in a journey round the world, an account of which he published in Reise um die Erde durch Nordasien und die beiden Ozeane (1833–1848). The magnetic observations he made during his travels were utilized by C. F. Gauss in his theory of terrestrial magnetism. He was appointed professor of physics at Berlin in 1839, and died there on the 12th of July 1877. From 1841 to 1865 he edited the Archiv für wissenschaftliche Kunde von Russland, and in 1874 he published, with H. J. R. Petersen, Die Grundlagen der Gauss’schen Theorie und die Erscheinungen des Erdmagnetismus im Jahre 1829.

His son Johann Peter Adolf Erman (1854–  ), a famous Egyptologist, was born in Berlin on the 31st of October 1854. Educated at Leipzig and Berlin, he became extraordinary professor in 1883 and ordinary professor in 1892 of Egyptology in the university of Berlin, and in 1885 he was appointed director of the Egyptian department of the royal museum. For an account of the Egyptological work of Erman and his school, see Egypt: Language.