quantum theory

Paul Dirac and the Quantum Mechanics

Paul Dirac and the Quantum Mechanics

On August 8, 1902, English theoretical physicist Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac was born. Dirac is best known for his fundamental contributions to the early development of both quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics. “The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible.” — Paul Dirac Paul Dirac Background Paul Dirac was born…
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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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Steven Weinberg and the Great Unifying Theory

Steven Weinberg and the Great Unifying Theory

On May 3, 1933, American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg was born. His research on elementary particles and cosmology has been honored with numerous prizes and awards including the Nobel Prize in Physics, which he received in 1979 together with his colleagues Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow for the unification of the weak force and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particle. “Elementary particles are terribly boring, which is one reason why…
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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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Max Planck and the Quantum Theory

Max Planck and the Quantum Theory

On April 23, 1858, German theoretical physicist Max Planck was born, who originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” – Max Planck, Interview in ‘The Observer’ (25 January 1931), p.17, column 3 Childhood in Munich Max Karl…
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Chien-Shiung Wu and the Conservation of Parity

Chien-Shiung Wu and the Conservation of Parity

On May 31, 1912, Chinese-American experimental physicist Chien-Shiung Wu was born. Wu is best known for conducting the Wu experiment, which contradicted the hypothetical law of conservation of parity. This discovery resulted in her colleagues Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen-Ning Yang winning the 1957 Nobel Prize in physics, and also earned Wu the inaugural Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978. Her expertise in experimental physics evoked comparisons to Marie Curie. Chien-Shiung Wu –…
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Julian Schwinger and Quantum Electrodynamics

Julian Schwinger and Quantum Electrodynamics

On February 12, 1918, US-american theoretical physicist and Nobel Laureate Julian Seymour Schwinger was born. Schwinger is best known for his work on the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED), in particular for developing a relativistically invariant perturbation theory, and for renormalizing QED to one loop order. “Is the purpose of theoretical physics to be no more than a cataloging of all the things that can happen when particles interact with each other…
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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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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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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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