physics

Ernst Ruska and the Electron Microscope

Ernst Ruska and the Electron Microscope

On March 9, 1931, German physicist Ernst Ruska together with his doctoral advisor Max Knoll presented the very first prototype electron microscope, capable of four-hundred-power magnification; the apparatus was the first demonstration of the principles of electron microscopy. “The light microscope opened the 1st gate to microcosm. The electron microscope opened the 2nd gate to microcosm.” What will we find opening the 3rd gate? (Ernst Ruska, 1985)[1] Youth and Education Ernst Ruska…
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Henri Becquerel and Radioactivity

Henri Becquerel and Radioactivity

On March 1, 1896, French physicist Henri Becquerel while experimenting with X-rays and photographic plates discovered radioactivity along with Marie Curie and Pierre Curie, for which all three won the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics. “I developed the photographic plates on the 1st of March, expecting to find the images very weak. Instead the silhouettes appeared with great intensity. It is important to observe that it appears this phenomenon must not be attributed…
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Robert Alexander Watson-Watt and the Radar Technology

Robert Alexander Watson-Watt and the Radar Technology

On February 26, 1935, British engineer and Fellow of the Royal Society Robert Alexander Watson-Watt started with first experiments on detecting and locating aircrafts with radio technique, later called ‘RADAR‘. Radar was initially nameless and researched elsewhere but it was greatly expanded on 1 September 1936 when Watson-Watt became Superintendent of Bawdsey Research Station located in Bawdsey Manor, near Felixstowe, Suffolk. Work there resulted in the design and installation of aircraft detection and tracking stations…
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Ludwig Boltzmann and Statistical Mechanics

Ludwig Boltzmann and Statistical Mechanics

On February 20, 1844, Austrian physicist and philosopher Ludwig Boltzmann was born. His greatest achievement was in the development of statistical mechanics, which explains and predicts how the properties of atoms determine the physical properties of matter. “Who sees the future? Let us have free scope for all directions of research; away with dogmatism, either atomistic or anti-atomistic!” — Ludwig Boltzmann, “Lectures on Gas Theory”, translated by Stephen George Brush (1971), p.…
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The Galileo Affair

The Galileo Affair

On February 13, 1633, Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome and was brought before the inquisitor Vincenzo Maculani to be charged for his defence of the Copernican theory in his writings. In the course of the trial, Galilei was found guilty and sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life. All in all, Galileo is a frequent guest in our blog. Besides his life, we have already reported about his astronomical…
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The Quantum Hall Effect

The Quantum Hall Effect

On February 5, 1980, German physicist Klaus von Klitzing discovered the Quantum Hall Effect in the high field magnet laboratory of Grenoble, France, for which he was granted the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physics. Hall Effect OK, today we have a topic that is a little bit complicated to explain, at least to us being non-physicists. Let’s start with the ‘traditional’ Hall effect. The Hall effect is the production of a voltage difference (the…
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Carl David Anderson and the Positron

Carl David Anderson and the Positron

On January 11, 1991, American physicist Carl David Anderson passed away. He is best known for his discovery of the positron in 1932, an achievement for which he received the 1936 Nobel Prize in Physics, and of the muon in 1936. “The atom can’t be seen, yet its existence can be proved. And it is simple to prove that it can’t ever be seen. It has to be studied by indirect evidence — and…
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The Birth of the Transistor, Key Component of Modern Electronics

The Birth of the Transistor, Key Component of Modern Electronics

On December 22, 1947, John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley at ATT‘s Bell Labs developed the first transistor, the key active component in practically all modern electronics. Vacuum Tubes as Predecessor of Transistors The transistor is a three terminal, solid state electronic device. In a three terminal device one can control electric current or voltage between two of the terminals by applying an electric current or voltage to the third terminal.…
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Ernest Rutherford Discovers the Nucleus

Ernest Rutherford Discovers the Nucleus

On December 20, 1910, New Zealand born physicist Ernest Rutherford made his seminal gold foil experiment which led to first insight about the nature of the inner structure of the atom and to the postulation of Rutherford‘s concept of the “nucleus“, his greatest contribution to physics. Most interestingly, Rutherford made his greatest discovery after receiving the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1908. “When we have found how the nucleus of atoms is…
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Albert Abraham Michelson and the Famous Experiment that lead to Einstein’s Special Relativity Theory

Albert Abraham Michelson and the Famous Experiment that lead to Einstein’s Special Relativity Theory

On December 19, 1859, US-american physicist Albert Abraham Michelson was born. Together with his colleague Edward Williams Morley he conducted an experiment that proved the by the time famous ether theory to be wrong and is considered to be one of the pilars of the theory of relativity. “While it is never safe to affirm that the future of Physical Science has no marvels in store even more astonishing than those of the…
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