Niels Bohr

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and the Evolution of Stars

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and the Evolution of Stars

On October 19, 1910, Indian-American astrophysicist and Nobel Laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was born. He won the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics together with William Alfred Fowler for key discoveries that led to the currently accepted theory on the later evolutionary stages of massive stars. Actually, winning Nobel Prizes in physics must lie somehow in the family of Chandrasekhar, because his uncle Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman won the Nobel Prize for Physics already in…
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Max von Laue and the Diffraction of X-Rays in Crystals

Max von Laue and the Diffraction of X-Rays in Crystals

On October 9, 1879, German physicist Max von Laue was born. Von Laue received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1914 for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals. “In the beginning was mechanics.” – Max von Laue (1950). History of physics Max von Laue – Early Years Max von Laue was born in Pfaffendorf, near Koblenz, Germany. His parents were Julius Laue (1848-1927), a Prussian real secret war councilor…
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John Wheeler and the Golden Age of General Relativity

John Wheeler and the Golden Age of General Relativity

On July 9, 1911, American theoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler was born. Wheeler worked with Niels Bohr in explaining the basic principles behind nuclear fission as well as with Albert Einstein, with whom he tried to achieve Einstein’s vision of a unified field theory. He is also known for popularizing the term black hole, and for coining the terms quantum foam, and wormhole. Background John Wheeler John Archibald Wheeler grew up in a Unitarian…
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Wolfgang Pauli and the Pauli Principle

Wolfgang Pauli and the Pauli Principle

On April 25, 1900, Austrian-born Swiss theoretical physicist Wolfgang Ernst Pauli was born. Pauli is one of the pioneers of quantum theory. In 1945, Pauli received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his “decisive contribution through his discovery of a new law of Nature, the exclusion principle or Pauli principle.” The discovery involved spin theory, which is the basis of a theory of the structure of matter. “At the dawn of religion,…
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Bruno Rossi and the Cosmic Radiation

Bruno Rossi and the Cosmic Radiation

On April 13, 1905, Italian experimental physicist Bruno Benedetto Rossi was born. Rossi made major contributions to particle physics and the study of cosmic rays. He was one of the first to use rockets to study cosmic rays above the Earth‘s atmosphere. Finding X-rays from space he became the grandfather of high energy astrophysics, being largely responsible for starting X-ray astronomy, as well as the study of interplanetary plasma. “In any case,…
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George Gamow and his fundamental Views on the Foundations of Science

George Gamow and his fundamental Views on the Foundations of Science

On March 4, 1904, theoretical physicist and cosmologist George Gamow was born. He was an early advocate and developer of George Lemaître’s Big Bang theory. Besides his contributions to physics, in his middle and late career, Gamow focused more on teaching, and became well known as an author of popular books on science, which are still in print more than 50 years after their publication. “There was a young fellow from Trinity,…
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Niels Bohr and the Origins of Quantum Mechanics

Niels Bohr and the Origins of Quantum Mechanics

On October 7, 1885, Danish physicist and Nobel Laureate Niels Bohr was born. Bohr made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. “Physics is to be regarded not so much as the study of something a priori given, but rather as the development of methods of ordering and surveying human experience. In this respect our task must be to account…
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Hans Geiger and the Invention of the Geiger-Müller Counter

Hans Geiger and the Invention of the Geiger-Müller Counter

On September 30, 1882, German physicist Johannes Wilhelm Geiger was born. He is best known as the co-inventor of the Geiger counter and for the Geiger–Marsden experiment which discovered the atomic nucleus. Hans Geiger – Early Years Geiger was born at Neustadt an der Haardt, Germany. He was one of five children born to the Indologist Wilhelm Ludwig Geiger, who was a professor at the University of Erlangen. In 1902, Hans Geiger…
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Theodore Maiman and the Invention of the Laser

Theodore Maiman and the Invention of the Laser

On May 16, 1960, American physicist Theodore Maiman presents the world’s first operating laser at Hughes Research Laboratories, Malibu, California. Today, lasers are present everywhere, ranging from common consumer devices such as DVD players, laser printers, and barcode scanners to professional laser devices for surgery and various other skin treatments, or in industry for cutting and welding materials. Actually, it was Albert Einstein, who has laid the theoretical foundations for the laser in his…
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Linus Pauling – From Quantum Chemistry to Molecular Biology

Linus Pauling – From Quantum Chemistry to Molecular Biology

On February 28, 1901, American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author, educator Linus Pauling was born. Pauling was one of the founders of the fields of quantum chemistry and molecular biology. His contributions to the theory of the chemical bond include the concept of orbital hybridisation and the first accurate scale of electronegativities of the elements. New Scientist called him one of the 20 greatest scientists of all time, and as of 2000,…
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