physics

Charles Francis Richter and the Richter Scale

Charles Francis Richter and the Richter Scale

On April 26, 1900, American seismologist and physicist Charles Francis Richter was born. Richter is most famous as the creator of the Richter magnitude scale, which, until the development of the moment magnitude scale in 1979, quantified the size of earthquakes. Inspired by Kiyoo Wadati‘s 1928 paper on shallow and deep earthquakes, Richter first used the scale in 1935 after developing it in collaboration with Beno Gutenberg; both worked at the California…
The Case of J. Robert Oppenheimer

The Case of J. Robert Oppenheimer

On April 22, 1904, American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was born. Oppenheimer was the wartime head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and is among those who are credited with being the “father of the atomic bomb” for their role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II undertaking that developed the first nuclear weapons. Oppenheimer‘s achievements in physics included the Born–Oppenheimer approximation for molecular wave functions, work on the theory…
Physicist Sir John Leslie

Physicist Sir John Leslie

On April 10, 1766, Scottish mathematician and physicist Sir John Leslie was born. Leslie is best remembered for his research into heat. He gave the first modern account of capillary action in 1802 and froze water using an air-pump in 1810, the first artificial production of ice. John Leslie entered the University of St Andrews and studied Divinity at Edinburgh University starting from 1784. During the following years Leslie worked…
Peter Debye – Physical Chemist

Peter Debye – Physical Chemist

On March 24, 1884, Dutch-American physicist and physical chemist Peter Joseph William Debye was born. Debye’s investigations of dipole moments, X rays, and light scattering in gases brought him the 1936 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Most of his work was in chemical-physics with special interest in electrolytes and dipolar momentum analysis. He established a theory of specific heat with some improvements on that proposed by Einstein. Peter Debye attended the…
Vilhelm Bjerknes and the Weatherforecast

Vilhelm Bjerknes and the Weatherforecast

On March 14, 1862, Norwegian physicist and meteorologist Vilhelm Bjerknes was born, Bjerknes is best known for being one of the founders of the modern science of weather forecasting with his 1921 published work “On the Dynamics of the Circular Vortex with Applications to the Atmosphere and to Atmospheric Vortex and Wave Motion“. Vilhelm Frimann Koren Bjerknes was born in Kristiania (later renamed Oslo), Norway, and enjoyed an early exposure…
Dayton Miller – Physicist, Acoustician, Flautist

Dayton Miller – Physicist, Acoustician, Flautist

On March 13, 1866, American physicist, astronomer, acoustician Dayton Clarence Miller was born. An early experimenter of X-rays, Miller was an advocate of aether theory and absolute space and an opponent of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Dayton Miller attended Baldwin University and earned his doctorate in astronomy at Princeton University. At the Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland, Ohio, Dayton Miller taught physics and became head of the…
Nuclear Physicist Edward Condon

Nuclear Physicist Edward Condon

On March 2, 1902, American nuclear physicist Edward Uhler Condon was born. Condon was a pioneer in quantum mechanics and a participant in the development of radar and nuclear weapons during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project. The Franck–Condon principle and the Slater–Condon rules are co-named after him. Edward Condon initially attended the College of Chemistry at the University of California and later switched his major to…
Lev Artsimovich, the Father of the Tokamak

Lev Artsimovich, the Father of the Tokamak

On February 25, 1909, Soviet physicist Lev Artsimovich was born. Artsimovich worked on the field of nuclear fusion and plasma physics and is best known for providing the basis of the Tokamak, a device capable of confining ultra-high temperature plasma suitable for research into controlled nuclear fusion. Lev Artsimovich studied in Minsk and starting from 1930 he worked at the Ioffe Institute in St. Petersburg. In 1944 he joined the…
Julian Schwinger and Quantum Electrodynamics

Julian Schwinger and Quantum Electrodynamics

On February 12, 1918, US-american theoretical physicist and Nobel Laureate Julian Seymour Schwinger was born. Schwinger is best known for his work on the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED), in particular for developing a relativistically invariant perturbation theory, and for renormalizing QED to one loop order. Julian Seymour Schwinger was born in New York City, to Orthodox Jewish parents originally from Poland, Belle and Benjamin Schwinger, a prosperous garment manufacturer.…

Rolf Landauer and the Landauer Principle

On February 4, 1927, German-American physicist Rolf William Landauer was born. Landauer made important contributions in diverse areas of the thermodynamics of information processing, condensed matter physics, and the conductivity of disordered media. He is probably best known for the formulation of the eponymous Landauer Principle concerning the energy used during a computer‘s operation. Rolf Landauer was born on February 4, 1927, in Stuttgart, Germany. He emigrated to the United…
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