Nobel Prize

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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John Steinbeck and his View of the American Society

John Steinbeck and his View of the American Society

On February 27, 1902, American writer and Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel Laureate John Steinbeck was born. His works comprise twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories, among them ‘The Grapes of Wrath‘, ‘East of Eden‘, and ‘Of Mice and Men‘. “The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion…
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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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Irving Langmuir and his scientific achievements

Irving Langmuir and his scientific achievements

On January 31, 1881, American chemist and physicist Irving Langmuir was born. Langmuir advanced several basic fields of physics and chemistry, invented the gas-filled incandescent lamp, the hydrogen welding technique, and was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in surface chemistry. “To me, [it’s] extremely interesting that men, perfectly honest, enthusiastic over their work, can so completely fool themselves.” — Irving Langmuir, 1953 [9] Irving Langmuir Background Irving Langmuir…
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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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Rudyard Kipling and his Tales of India

Rudyard Kipling and his Tales of India

On December 30, 1865, English short-story writer, poet, and novelist Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India. Kipling is best remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. “Now this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.” — Rudyard…
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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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Werner Heisenberg and the Uncertainty Principle

Werner Heisenberg and the Uncertainty Principle

On December 5, 1901, German theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize laureate Werner Heisenberg was born, who along with Max Born and Pascual Jordan laid the foundations of quantum mechanics. He is probably best known for his Uncertainty Principle, asserting a fundamental limit to the precision with which certain physical properties can be known. “The more precise the measurement of position, the more imprecise the measurement of momentum, and vice versa.” — Werner Heisenberg,…
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