physics

Iosif Shklovsky and Intelligent Life in the Universe

Iosif Shklovsky and Intelligent Life in the Universe

On July 1, 1916, Soviet astronomer and astrophysicist Iosif Shklovsky was born. Shklovsky identified the continuum radiation of the Crab Nebula as synchrotron radiation, and he linked x-ray stars to binary systems containing a neutron star. He is also remembered for his 1962 book on extraterrestrial life, the revised and expanded version of which was co-authored by American astronomer Carl Sagan in 1966 as ‘Intelligent Life in the Universe’. Iosif Shklovsky…
J. Hans D. Jensen and the Uranium Club

J. Hans D. Jensen and the Uranium Club

On June 25, 1907, German nuclear physicist Johannes Hans Daniel Jensen was born. During World War 2, Jensen worked on the German nuclear energy project, known as the Uranium Club, in which he made contributions to the separation of uranium isotopes. Jensen shared half of the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics with Maria Goeppert-Mayer for their proposal of the nuclear shell model. Hans Jensen was appointed Privatdozent at the University of Hamburg…
Victor Hess and the Ultra Radiation

Victor Hess and the Ultra Radiation

On June 24, 1883, Austrian-American physicist, and Nobel laureate in physics Victor Francis Hess was born. Hess shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with Carl Anderson in 1936 for his discovery of cosmic rays. Victor Franz Hess was born near Peggau in Styria, Austria, to Vinzenz Hess, a royal forester in Prince Louis of Oettingen-Wallerstein’s service, and his wife Serafine Edle von Grossbauer-Waldstätt. He attended secondary school at Graz Gymnasium…
Charles Barkla and X-Ray Scattering

Charles Barkla and X-Ray Scattering

On June 7, 1877, British physicist Charles Glover Barkla was born. Barkla received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in X-ray spectroscopy. In particular for his work on X-ray scattering. This technique is applied to the investigation of atomic structures, by studying how X-rays passing through a material and are deflected by the atomic electrons. Charles Barkla studied at the Liverpool Institute and proceeded by Liverpool University with a County…
Chien-Shiung Wu and the Conservation of Parity

Chien-Shiung Wu and the Conservation of Parity

On May 31, 1912, Chinese-American experimental physicist Chien-Shiung Wu was born. Wu is best known for conducting the Wu experiment, which contradicted the hypothetical law of conservation of parity. This discovery resulted in her colleagues Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen-Ning Yang winning the 1957 Nobel Prize in physics, and also earned Wu the inaugural Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978. Her expertise in experimental physics evoked comparisons to Marie Curie. Chien-Shiung…
Hannes Alfvén – the Father of Plasma Physics

Hannes Alfvén – the Father of Plasma Physics

On May 30, 1908. Swedish electrical engineer, plasma physicist, and Nobel laureate Hannes Alfvén was born. Alfvén won the 1970 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). He described the class of MHD waves now known as Alfvén waves. Alfvén made many contributions to plasma physics, including theories describing the behavior of aurorae, the Van Allen radiation belts, the effect of magnetic storms on the Earth’s magnetic field, the terrestrial magnetosphere, and…
Alfred Nier and Mass Spectroscopy

Alfred Nier and Mass Spectroscopy

On May 28, 1911, American physicist Alfred Otto Carl Nier was born. Nier pioneered the development of mass spectrometry. He was the first to use mass spectrometry to isolate uranium-235 which was used to demonstrate that 235U could undergo fission and developed the sector mass spectrometer configuration now known as Nier-Johnson geometry. Alfred Otto Carl Nier attended the University of Minnesota and graduated in electrical engineering in 1931. Nier decided…
John Bardeen and his two Nobel Prizes in Physics

John Bardeen and his two Nobel Prizes in Physics

On May 23, 1908, American physicist and electrical engineer John Bardeen was born. Bardeen is the only person to have won the Nobel Prize in Physics twice: first in 1956 with William Shockley and Walter Brattain for the invention of the transistor; and again in 1972 with Leon N Cooper and John Robert Schrieffer for a fundamental theory of conventional superconductivity known as the BCS theory theory. John Bardeen attended the University…
Oliver Heaviside changed the Face of Telecommunications

Oliver Heaviside changed the Face of Telecommunications

On May 18, 1850, English self-taught electrical engineer, mathematician, and physicist Oliver Heaviside was born. Heaviside adapted complex numbers to the study of electrical circuits, invented mathematical techniques for the solution of differential equations, reformulated Maxwell’s field equations in terms of electric and magnetic forces and energy flux, and independently co-formulated vector analysis. Oliver Heaviside suffered from scarlet fever as a child and had to deal with a hearing impairment since…
The Instruments of Jean-Charles de Borda

The Instruments of Jean-Charles de Borda

On May 4, 1733, French mathematician, physicist, political scientist, and sailor Jean-Charles de Borda was born. De Borda noted for his studies of fluid mechanics and his development of instruments for navigation and geodesy, the study of the size and shape of the Earth. He is one of 72 scientists commemorated by plaques on the Eiffel tower. Jean-Charles de Borda grew up in Dax, France as part of a noble family.…
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