In 1891 he was appointed lecturer in physics at Stockholm and four years later became full professor.
In 1911 he accepted the chair of physics in Prague, only to be induced to return to his own polytechnic school at Zurich as full professor in the following year.
Having held educational posts at Saarbriicken and Dusseldorf, in 1836 he became extraordinary professor of philosophy at Bonn, and in 1840 full professor.
In 1853 he became professor extraordinarius of theology at Leiden, and in 1855 full professor.
After studying at Tubingen and Erlangen, he taught chemistry and physics, first at Keilhau, Thuringia, and then at Epsom, England, but most of his life was spent at Basel, where he undertook the duties of the chair of chemistry and physics in 1828 and was appointed full professor in 1835.