physics

Hideki Yukawa and the Existence of Mesons

Hideki Yukawa and the Existence of Mesons

On January 23, 1907, Japanese theoretical physicist and the first Japanese Nobel laureate Hideki Yukawa was born. Yukawa shared the 1949 Nobel Prize for Physics for “his prediction of the existence of mesons on the basis of theoretical work on nuclear forces.” “Reality is cruel. All of the naivete is going to be removed. Reality is always changing, and it is always unpredictable. All of the balance is going to be destroyed.”…
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Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

Stephen Hawking and the Hairy Black Holes

When I read the news that Stephen Hawking passed away, I was rather sad. I grew up with a fascination for astronomy and cosmology. Trying to understand the fabrics and working of the universe, I devoured his popular books and articles and I am rather thankful. Amongst others it was foremost this unique physicist, who planted the seed for my decision to become a scientist myself. However, I abandoned physics after high…
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Satyendra Nath Bose and the Einstein-Bose Statistics

Satyendra Nath Bose and the Einstein-Bose Statistics

On January 1, 1898, Bengali Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose was born. Specialising in mathematical physics, Bose is best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s, providing the foundation for Bose–Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose–Einstein condensate. The class of particles that obey Bose–Einstein statistics, bosons, was named after Bose by Paul Dirac. Education Bose was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata), the eldest of seven children…
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Henri Busignies and the Development of the Huff-Duff System

Henri Busignies and the Development of the Huff-Duff System

On December 29, 1905, French engineer Henri Gaston Busignies was born. Busignies is best known for his contributions to radar, radio communication, and radio navigation. His invention (1936) of high-frequency direction finders (HF/DF, or “Huff-Duff“) permitted the U.S. Navy during World War II to detect enemy transmissions and quickly pinpoint the direction from which a radio transmission was coming. Early Years Henri Gaston Busignies was born in Sceaux, in suburban Paris, France, the…
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Robert J. Van de Graaff and the Van de Graaf Generator

Robert J. Van de Graaff and the Van de Graaf Generator

On December 20, 1901, American physicist Robert Jemison Van de Graaff was born. Van de Graaff is specifically noted for his design and construction of high-voltage Van de Graaff generators that can be used as a particle accelerator in atomic research. Early Years Robert Jemison Van de Graaff received his master’s degree from The University of Alabama and began working at the Alabama Power Company afterwards. Van de Graaf later studied at the…
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Robert Millikan and the Millikan experiment

Robert Millikan and the Millikan experiment

On December 19, 1953, US-American physicist and Nobel laureate Robert Andrews Millikan passed away. Millikan was honored with the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1923 for his measurement of the elementary electronic charge and for his work on the photoelectric effect. Millikan‘s famous oil-drop experiment (1911) was far superior to previous determinations of the charge of an electron, and further showed that the electron was a fundamental, discrete particle. In later work,…
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Willard Frank Libby and the Radiocarbon Dating

Willard Frank Libby and the Radiocarbon Dating

On December 17, 1908, American physical chemist Willard Frank Libby was born. Libby is best known for his role in the 1949 development of radiocarbon dating, a process which revolutionized archaeology and palaeontology. For his contributions to the team that developed this process, Libby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960. Early Years Willard Frank Libby was born among two siblings in Grand Valley, Colorado, the son of farmers Ora…
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Charles Coulson and the Molecular Orbital Theory

Charles Coulson and the Molecular Orbital Theory

On December 13, 1910, British applied mathematician and theoretical chemist Charles Coulson was born. Coulson was as a pioneer of the application of the quantum theory of valency to problems of molecular structure, dynamics and reactivity. He is known for the application of molecular orbital theory to chemical bonding, the electronic structures of molecules and the concept of partial valency, and developed many mathematical techniques for solving chemical and physical problems. Charles…
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Max Born and the statistical interpretation of the Wave Function

Max Born and the statistical interpretation of the Wave Function

On December 11, 1882, German physicist, mathematician, and Nobel Laureate Max Born was born, who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 1930s. “Can we call something with which the concepts of position and motion cannot be associated in the usual way, a thing, or a particle? And if…
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Henry Way Kendall and the Scattering of Particles

Henry Way Kendall and the Scattering of Particles

On December 9, 1926, American particle physicist and Nobel Laureate Henry Way Kendall was born. Kendall won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1990 jointly with Jerome Isaac Friedman and Richard E. Taylor “for their pioneering investigations concerning deep inelastic scattering of electrons on protons and bound neutrons, which have been of essential importance for the development of the quark model in particle physics.” “While science and technology play critical roles in sustaining…
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