physics

George Uhlenbeck and the Electron Spin

George Uhlenbeck and the Electron Spin

On December 6, 1900, Dutch-American theoretical physicist George Eugene Uhlenbeck was born. Together with with Samuel A. Goudsmit, Uhlenbeck proposed the concept of electron spin (Jan 1925) – a fourth quantum number which was a half integer. Early Life George Uhlenbeck was the son of Eugenius Uhlenbeck, who served in the Dutch East Indian Army, and Anne Beeger Uhlenbeck, the daughter of a Dutch major general. He attended the Hogere Burgerschool (High…
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Heinrich Barkhausen and the Barkhausen Effect

Heinrich Barkhausen and the Barkhausen Effect

On December 2, 1881, German physicist Heinrich Barkhausen was born. Barkhausen discovered the Barkhausen effect (1919), a principle concerning changes in the magnetic properties of metal. With K. Kurz, he invented the Barkhausen-Kurz oscillator, the first vacuum tube electronic oscillator to use electron transit-time effects. Heinrich Barkhausen – Early Years Heinrich Barkhausen came from a respected Bremen middle-class family. He showed interest in technology and natural sciences in his early youth, whereupon his…
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Lars Onsager and Irreversible Chemical Processes

Lars Onsager and Irreversible Chemical Processes

On November 27, 1903, Norwegian-born American physical chemist and theoretical physicist Lars Onsager was born. The development of a general theory of irreversible chemical processes gained him the 1968 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. These Onsager reciprocal relations have importance in a wide range of applications. Education Lars Onsager was born in Kristiania (today’s Oslo), Norway, to Erling Onsager, a Barrister of the Supreme Court of Norway, and Ingrid, née Kirkeby. After completing…
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Charles-Adolphe Wurtz and the Atomic Theory

Charles-Adolphe Wurtz and the Atomic Theory

On November 26, 1817, Alsatian French chemist and educator Charles-Adolphe Wurtz was born. Wurtz is best remembered for his decades-long advocacy for the atomic theory and for ideas about the structures of chemical compounds, against the skeptical opinions of chemists such as Marcellin Berthelot and Etienne Henri Sainte-Claire Deville. He is well known by organic chemists for the Wurtz reaction, to form carbon-carbon bonds by reacting alkyl halides with sodium, and for…
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Julius von Mayer – Energy can neither be created or destroyed

Julius von Mayer – Energy can neither be created or destroyed

On November 25, 1814, German physician and physicist Julius Robert von Mayer was born. He is best known for enunciating in 1841 one of the original statements of the conservation of energy or what is now known as one of the first versions of the first law thermodynamics, namely that “energy can be neither created nor destroyed“. “Nature has put itself the problem of how to catch in flight light streaming to the…
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Veerabhadran Ramanathan and the Brown Clouds

Veerabhadran Ramanathan and the Brown Clouds

On November 24, 1944, Indian atmospheric scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan was born. He has contributed to many areas of the atmospheric sciences including developments to general circulation models, atmospheric chemistry, and radiative transfer. But, he is best known for his 1999 discovery of the “Asian Brown Cloud” – wandering layers of air pollution as wide as a continent and deeper than the Grand Canyon. Veerabhadran Ramanathan – Background Ramanathan was born in Chennai, India.…
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C. V. Raman and the Raman Effect

C. V. Raman and the Raman Effect

On November 7 1888, Indian physicist and Nobel Laureate Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was born. Raman carried out ground-breaking work in the field of light scattering, which earned him the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics. He discovered that when light traverses a transparent material, some of the deflected light changes in wavelength. This phenomenon, subsequently known as Raman scattering, results from the Raman effect. Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman first studied at the Presidency College…
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Donald Kerst and the Betatron

Donald Kerst and the Betatron

On November 1, 1911, American physicist Donald William Kerst was born. Kerst worked on advanced particle accelerator concepts (accelerator physics) and plasma physics. He is most notable for his development of the betatron, a novel type of particle accelerator used to accelerate electrons. Donald Kerst earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1934. In 1937, he received his PhD for his thesis on “The Development of Electrostatic Generators…
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Gustav Hertz and the Franck-Hertz Experiment

Gustav Hertz and the Franck-Hertz Experiment

On October 30, 1975, German experimental physicist and Nobel Prize winner Gustav Ludwig Hertz passed away. A nephew of Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, he received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1925 together with James Franck for the Franck-Hertz experiment, which confirmed the quantum theory that energy can be absorbed by an atom only in definite amounts and provided an important confirmation of the Bohr atomic model. Early Years and Education Gustav Hertz was…
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Seymour Benzer and Behavioural Genetics

Seymour Benzer and Behavioural Genetics

On October 15, 1921, American physicist, molecular biologist and behavioral geneticist Seymour Benzer was born. Benzer is known for having developed a method for determining the detailed structure of viral genes. He coined the term cistron (1957) to denote functional subunits of genes. He also did much to elucidate the nature of genetic anomalies, called nonsense mutations, in terms of the nucleotide sequence of DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid. Seymour Benzer early developed enthusiasm for biology…
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