physics

John Ray Dunning and the Manhattan Project

John Ray Dunning and the Manhattan Project

On September 24, 1907, US-American physicist John Ray Dunning was born. Dunning played key roles in the Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic bombs. He specialized in neutron physics, and did pioneering work in gaseous diffusion for isotope separation. John Ray Dunning – Early Years John Ray Dunning was born in Shelby, Nebraska, USA, the son of Albert Chester Dunning, a grain dealer, and his wife Josephine. He graduated from Shelby High…
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Edwin McMillan and his Research on Transuranium Elements

Edwin McMillan and his Research on Transuranium Elements

On September 18, 1907, American physicist and Nobel Laureate Edwin Mattison McMillan was born. McMillan is credited with being the first ever to produce a transuranium element, neptunium. For this, he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Glenn Seaborg in 1951. Edwin McMillan – Early Years Edwin McMillan, the son of physicist Dr. Edwin Harbaugh McMillan and his wife Anne Marie McMillan, née Mattison, grew up in Pasadena, California. He entered…
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Murray Gell-Mann and the Quark Model

Murray Gell-Mann and the Quark Model

On September 15, 1929, American physicist and Nobel Laureate Murray Gell-Mann was born. He is best known for his work on the theory of elementary particles and introduced the quark model. The quark model is a classification scheme for hadrons, i.e. composite particle made of quarks held together by the strong force (in the same way as atoms and molecules are held together by the electromagnetic force). “While many questions about quantum mechanics…
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The first Observation of Gravitational Waves

The first Observation of Gravitational Waves

On September 14, 2015, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration observed gravitational waves from a 410 megaparsec (1.3 billion light years) distant merger of two black holes. Previously, gravitational waves had only been inferred only indirectly, via their effect on the timing of pulsars in binary star systems. It was also the first observation of a binary black hole merger, demonstrating both the existence of binary stellar-mass black hole systens, and the fact that…
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Arthur Holly Compton and the Compton Effect

Arthur Holly Compton and the Compton Effect

On September 10, 1890, American physicist and Nobel Laureate Arthur Holly Compton was born. Compton won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1927 for his discovery of the Compton effect, which demonstrated the particle nature of electromagnetic radiation. It was a sensational discovery at the time: the wave nature of light had been well-demonstrated, but the idea that light had both wave and particle properties was not easily accepted. Arthur Holly Compton…
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Luigi Galvani and the Discovery of Bioelectricity

Luigi Galvani and the Discovery of Bioelectricity

On September 9, 1737, Italian physician, physicist and philosopher Luigi Aloisio Galvani was born. He is best known for his discoveries in bioelectricity. In particular, he discovered that the muscles of dead frogs legs twitched when struck by a spark. As a legacy, Galvani’s name survives in the Galvanic cell, Galvani potential, galvanic corrosion, the galvanometer and galvanization. Moreover, his reports also heavily influenced famous author Mary Shelley writing her novel ‘Frankenstein‘.[4] “When…
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Francis William Aston and the Mass Spectrograph

Francis William Aston and the Mass Spectrograph

On September 1, 1877, English chemist, physicist, and Nobel Laureate Francis William Aston was born. Aston won the 1922 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery, by means of his mass spectrograph, of isotopes, in a large number of non-radioactive elements, and for his enunciation of the whole number rule. Francis William Aston – Early Years Francis William Aston was born in Harborne, now part of Birmingham, UK, as the third child and second…
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Louis Essen and the Precise Measurement of Time

Louis Essen and the Precise Measurement of Time

On August 24, 1997, English physicist Louis Essen FRS, O.B.E passed away. Essen’s most notable achievements were in the precise measurement of time and the determination of the speed of light. He invented the quartz crystal ring clock and the first practical atomic clock. These devices were capable of measuring time more accurately than any previous clocks. He built a cesium-beam atomic clock, a device that ultimately changed the way time is measured.…
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Erwin Schrödinger and his Famous Thought Experiment

Erwin Schrödinger and his Famous Thought Experiment

On August 12, 1887, Austrian physicist and Nobel Laureate Erwin Schrödinger was born. Schrödinger developed a number of fundamental results in the field of quantum theory, which formed the basis of wave mechanics: he formulated the wave equation and revealed the identity of his development of the formalism and matrix mechanics. Schrödinger proposed an original interpretation of the physical meaning of the wave function. Although many of you are not physicists, you…
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Wolfgang Paul and the Quadrupole Ion Trap

Wolfgang Paul and the Quadrupole Ion Trap

On August 10, 1913, German physicist Wolfgang Paul was born. Paul co-developed the non-magnetic quadrupole mass filter which laid the foundation for what we now call an ion trap. He shared one-half of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1989 for this work with Hans Georg Dehmelt; the other half of the Prize in that year was awarded to Norman Foster Ramsey, Jr. Ion traps can be used as a component of…
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