physics

Emilio Segrè and the Discovery of the Antiproton

Emilio Segrè and the Discovery of the Antiproton

On February 1, 1905, Italian physicist and Nobel Laureate Emilio Segrè was born. Segrè is best known for his discovery of the elements technetium and astatine, and the antiproton, a sub-atomic antiparticle, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1959. “If some nuclear properties of the heavy elements had been a little different from what they turned out to be, it might have been impossible to build a…
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Lev Landau – Superfluidity, the Hydrogen Bomb and Sarcastic Remarks

Lev Landau – Superfluidity, the Hydrogen Bomb and Sarcastic Remarks

On January 22, 1908, Soviet physicist and Nobel Laureate Lev Landau was born. Landau made fundamental contributions to many areas of theoretical physics. He received the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physics for his development of a mathematical theory of superfluidity that accounts for the properties of liquid helium II  at a temperature below 2.17 K (−270.98 °C). Lev Landau – Early Years Lev Landau was the son of the Caspian-Black Sea Joint-Stock Company…
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Edward Teller and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

Edward Teller and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

On January 15, 1908, Hungarian born US theoretical physicist Edward Teller, often referred to as ‘Father of the hydrogenic bomb‘, was born. Teller made numerous contributions to nuclear and molecular physics, and is considered one of the inspirations for the character Dr. Strangelove in the 1964 Stanley Kubrick movie of the same name. “There’s no system foolproof enough to defeat a sufficiently great fool.” — Edward Teller, As quoted in “Nuclear Reactions”, by…
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Wilhelm Wien and the Distribution Law for Blackbody Radiation

Wilhelm Wien and the Distribution Law for Blackbody Radiation

On January 13, 1864, German physicist Wilhelm „Willy“ Carl Werner Otto Fritz Franz Wien, known as Wilhelm Wien, was born. He primarily researched the laws of thermal radiation and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1911 for his work. Wilhelm Wien – Early Years Wien was born at Gaffken near Fischhausen, Province of Prussia (now Primorsk, Russia) as the son of landowner Carl Wien. In 1866, the Wien family, including Wilhelm,…
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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

On January 4, 1643 [N.S.] (25 December 1642 [O.S.]), Sir Isaac Newton, famous physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, was born. With his Principia Newton laid the foundation of modern classical mechanics. Besides he constructed the very first reflecting telescope and independent of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz developed differential and integral calculus [10]. “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to…
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Satyendra Nath Bose and the Einstein-Bose Statistics

Satyendra Nath Bose and the Einstein-Bose Statistics

On January 1, 1898, Bengali Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose was born. Specialising in mathematical physics, Bose is best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s, providing the foundation for Bose–Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose–Einstein condensate. The class of particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics, bosons, was named after Bose by Paul Dirac. “You don’t know who he was? Half the particles in the universe obey…
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Robert J. Van de Graaff and the Van de Graaf Generator

Robert J. Van de Graaff and the Van de Graaf Generator

On December 20, 1901, American physicist Robert Jemison Van de Graaff was born. Van de Graaff is specifically noted for his design and construction of high-voltage Van de Graaff generators that can be used as a particle accelerator in atomic research. Early Years Robert Jemison Van de Graaff received his master’s degree from The University of Alabama and began working at the Alabama Power Company afterwards. Van de Graaf later studied at the…
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Robert Millikan and the Millikan experiment

Robert Millikan and the Millikan experiment

On December 19, 1953, US-American physicist and Nobel laureate Robert Andrews Millikan passed away. Millikan was honored with the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1923 for his measurement of the elementary electronic charge and for his work on the photoelectric effect. Millikan‘s famous oil-drop experiment (1911) was far superior to previous determinations of the charge of an electron, and further showed that the electron was a fundamental, discrete particle. In later work,…
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Max Born and the statistical interpretation of the Wave Function

Max Born and the statistical interpretation of the Wave Function

On December 11, 1882, German physicist, mathematician, and Nobel Laureate Max Born was born, who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 1930s. “Can we call something with which the concepts of position and motion cannot be associated in the usual way, a thing, or a particle? And if…
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Henry Way Kendall and the Scattering of Particles

Henry Way Kendall and the Scattering of Particles

On December 9, 1926, American particle physicist and Nobel Laureate Henry Way Kendall was born. Kendall won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1990 jointly with Jerome Isaac Friedman and Richard E. Taylor “for their pioneering investigations concerning deep inelastic scattering of electrons on protons and bound neutrons, which have been of essential importance for the development of the quark model in particle physics.” “While science and technology play critical roles in sustaining…
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