Soulisim


Famous Physicists


Classical Period
William Gilbert 1544-1603
English
hypothesized that the Earth is a giant magnet
Galileo Galilei 1564-1642
Italian
performed fundamental observations, experiments, and mathematical analyses in astronomy and physics; discovered mountains and craters on the moon, the phases of Venus, and the four largest satellites of Jupiter: Io, Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede
Willebrod Snell 1580-1626
Dutch
discovered law of refraction (Snell's law)
Blaise Pascal 1623-1662
French
discovered that pressure applied to an enclosed fluid is transmitted undiminished to every part of the fluid and to the walls of its container (Pascal's principle)
Christiaan Huygens 1629-1695
Dutch
proposed a simple geometrical wave theory of light, now known as ``Huygen's principle''; pioneered use of the pendulum in clocks
Robert Hooke 1635-1703
English
discovered Hooke's law of elasticity
Sir Isaac Newton 1643-1727
English
developed theories of gravitation and mechanics, and invented differential calculus
Daniel Bernoulli 1700-1782
Swiss
developed the fundamental relationship of fluid flow now known as Bernoulli's principle
Benjamin Franklin 1706-1790
American
the first American physicist; characterized two kinds of electric charge, which he named ``positive'' and ``negative''
Leonard Euler 1707-1783
Swiss
made fundamental contributions to fluid dynamics, lunar orbit theory (tides), and mechanics; also contributed prolifically to all areas of classical mathematics
Henry Cavendish 1731-1810
British
discovered and studied hydrogen; first to measure Newton's gravitational constant; calculated mass and mean density of Earth
Charles Augustin de Coulomb 1736-1806
French
experiments on elasticity, electricity, and magnetism; established experimentally nature of the force between two charges
Joseph-Louis Lagrange 1736-1813
French
developed new methods of analytical mechanics
James Watt 1736-1819
Scottish
invented the modern condensing steam engine and a centrifugal governor
Count Alessandro Volta 1745-1827
Italian
pioneer in study of electricity; invented the first electric battery
Joseph Fourier 1768-1830
French
established the differential equation governing heat diffusion and solved it by devising an infinite series of sines and cosines capable of approximating a wide variety of functions
Thomas Young 1773-1829
British
studied light and color; known for his double-slit experiment that demonstrated the wave nature of light
Jean-Babtiste Biot 1774-1862
French
studied polarization of light; co-discovered that intensity of magnetic field set up by a current flowing through a wire varies inversely with the distance from the wire
André Marie Ampère 1775-1836
French
father of electrodynamics
Amadeo Avogadro 1776-1856
Italian
developed hypothesis that all gases at same volume, pressure, and temperature contain same number of atoms
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss 1777-1855
German
formulated separate electrostatic and electrodynamical laws, including ``Gauss' law''; contributed to development of number theory, differential geometry, potential theory, theory of terrestrial magnetism, and methods of calculating planetary orbits
Hans Christian Oersted 1777-1851
Danish
discovered that a current in a wire can produce magnetic effects
Sir David Brewster 1781-1868
English
deduced ``Brewster's law'' giving the angle of incidence that produces reflected light which is completely polarized; invented the kaleidoscope and the stereoscope, and improved the spectroscope
Augustin-Jean Fresnel 1788-1827
French
studied transverse nature of light waves
Georg Ohm 1789-1854
German
discovered that current flow is proportional to potential difference and inversely proportional to resistance (Ohm's law)
Michael Faraday 1791-1867
English
discovered electromagnetic induction and devised first electrical transformer
Felix Savart 1791-1841
French
co-discovered that intensity of magnetic field set up by a current flowing through a wire varies inversely with the distance from the wire
Sadi Carnot 1796-1832
French
founded the science of thermodynamics
Joseph Henry 1797-1878
American
performed extensive fundamental studies of electromagnetic phenomena; devised first practical electric motor
Christian Doppler 1803-1853
Austrian
experimented with sound waves; derived an expression for the apparent change in wavelength of a wave due to relative motion between the source and observer
Wilhelm E. Weber 1804-1891
German
developed sensitive magnetometers; worked in electrodynamics and the electrical structure of matter
Sir William Hamilton 1805-1865
Irish
developed the principle of least action and the Hamiltonian form of classical mechanics
James Prescott Joule 1818-1889
British
discovered mechanical equivalent of heat
Armand-Hippolyte-Louis Fizeau 1819-1896
French
made the first terrestrial measurement of the speed of light; invented one of the first interferometers; took the first pictures of the Sun on daguerreotypes; argued that the Doppler effect with respect to sound should also apply to any wave motion, particularly that of light
Jean-Bernard-Léon Foucault 1819-1868
French
accurately measured speed of light; invented the gyroscope; demonstrated the Earth's rotation
Sir George Gabriel Stokes 1819-1903
British
described the motion of viscous fluids by independently discovering the Navier-Stokes equations of fluid mechanics (or hydrodynamics); developed Stokes theorem by which certain surface integrals may be reduced to line integrals; discovered fluorescence
Hermann von Helmholtz 1821-1894
German
developed first law of thermodynamics, a statement of conservation of energy
Rudolf Clausius 1822-1888
German
developed second law of thermodynamics, a statement that the entropy of the Universe always increases
Lord Kelvin
(born William Thomson)
1824-1907
British
proposed absolute temperature scale, of essence to development of thermodynamics
Gustav Kirchhoff 1824-1887
German
developed three laws of spectral analysis and three rules of electric circuit analysis; also contributed to optics
Johann Balmer 1825-1898
Swiss
developed empirical formula to describe hydrogen spectrum
Sir Joseph Wilson Swan 1828-1914
British
developed a carbon-filament incandescent light; patented the carbon process for printing photographs in permanent pigment
James Clerk Maxwell 1831-1879
Scottish
propounded the theory of electromagnetism; developed the kinetic theory of gases
Josef Stefan 1835-1893
Austrian
studied blackbody radiation
Ernst Mach 1838-1916
Austrian
studied conditions that occur when an object moves through a fluid at high speed (the ``Mach number'' gives the ratio of the speed of the object to the speed of sound in the fluid); proposed ``Mach's principle,'' which states that the inertia of an object is due to the interaction between the object and the rest of the universe
Josiah Gibbs 1839-1903
American
developed chemical thermodynamics; introduced concepts of free energy and chemical potential
James Dewar 1842-1923
British
liquified nitrogen and invented the Dewar flask, which is critical for low-temperature work
Osborne Reynolds 1842-1912
British
contributed to the fields of hydraulics and hydrodynamics; developed mathematical framework for turbulence and introduced the ``Reynolds number,'' which provides a criterion for dynamic similarity and correct modeling in many fluid-flow experiments
Ludwig Boltzmann 1844-1906
Austrian
developed statistical mechanics and applied it to kinetic theory of gases
Roland Eötvös 1848-1919
Hungarian
demonstrated equivalence of gravitational and inertial mass
Oliver Heaviside 1850-1925
English
contributed to the development of electromagnetism; introduced operational calculus and invented the modern notation for vector calculus; predicted existence of the Heaviside layer (a layer of the Earth's ionosphere)
George Francis FitzGerald 1851-1901
Irish
hypothesized foreshortening of moving bodies (Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction) to explain the result of the Michelson-Morley experiment
John Henry Poynting 1852-1914
British
demonstrated that the energy flow of electromagnetic waves could be calculated by an equation (now called Poynting's vector)
Henri Poincaré 1854-1912
French
founded qualitative dynamics (the mathematical theory of dynamical systems); created topology; contributed to solution of the three-body problem; first described many properties of deterministic chaos; contributed to the development of special relativity
Janne Rydberg 1854-1919
Swedish
analyzed the spectra of many elements; discovered many line series were described by a formula that depended on a universal constant (the Rydberg constant)
Edwin H. Hall 1855-1938
American
discovered the ``Hall effect,'' which occurs when charge carriers moving through a material are deflected because of an applied magnetic field - the deflection results in a potential difference across the side of the material that is transverse to both the magnetic field and the current direction
Heinrich Hertz 1857-1894
German
worked on electromagnetic phenomena; discovered radio waves and the photoelectric effect
Nikola Tesla 1857-1943
Serbian-born American
created alternating current
Nobel Laureates
Johannes van der Waals 1837-1923
Dutch
worked on equations of state for gases and liquids
Lord Rayleigh
(born John William Strutt)
1842-1919
British
discovered argon; explained how light scattering is responsible for red color of sunset and blue color of sky
Wilhelm Röntgen 1845-1923
German
discovered and studied x rays
Antoine Henri Becquerel 1852-1908
French
discovered natural radioactivity
Albert A. Michelson 1852-1931
German-born American
devised an interferometer and used it to try to measure Earth's absolute motion; precisely measured speed of light
Hendrik Antoon Lorentz 1853-1928
Dutch
introduced Lorentz transformation equations of special relativity; advanced ideas of relativistic length contraction and relativistic mass increase; contributed to theory of electromagnetism
Heike Kamerlingh-Onnes 1853-1926
Dutch
liquified helium; discovered superconductivity
Sir Joseph John Thomson 1856-1940
British
demonstrated existence of the electron
Max Planck 1858-1947
German
formulated the quantum theory; explained wavelength distribution of blackbody radiation
Pierre Curie 1859-1906
French
studied radioactivity with wife, Marie Curie; discovered piezoelectricity
Sir William Henry Bragg 1862-1942
British
worked on x-ray spectrometry
Philipp von Lenard 1862-1947
German
studied cathode rays and the photoelectric effect
Wilhelm Wien 1864-1928
German
discovered laws governing radiation of heat
Pieter Zeeman 1865-1943
Dutch
discovered splitting of spectral lines in a strong magnetic field
Marie Curie 1867-1934
Polish-born French
discovered radioactivity of thorium; co-discovered radium and polonium
Robert Millikan 1868-1953
American
measured the charge of an electron; introduced term ``cosmic rays'' for the radiation coming from outer space; studied the photoelectric effect
Charles Wilson 1869-1959
British
invented the cloud chamber
Jean Baptiste Perrin 1870-1942
French
experimentally proved that cathode rays were streams of negatively charged particles; experimentally confirmed the correctness of Einstein's theory of Brownian motion, and through his measurements obtained a new determination of Avogadro's number
Lord Ernest Rutherford 1871-1937
New Zealander
theorized existence of the atomic nucleus based on results of the alpha-scattering experiment performed by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden; developed theory of Rutherford scattering (scattering of spinless, pointlike particles from a Coulomb potential)
Guglielmo Marconi 1874-1937
Italian
invented the first practical system of wireless telegraphy
Johannes Stark 1874-1957
German
discovered splitting of spectral lines in a strong electric field
Charles Glover Barkla 1877-1944
British
discovered that every chemical element, when irradiated by x rays, can emit an x-ray spectrum of two line-groups, which he named the K-series and L-series, that are of fundamental importance to understanding atomic structure
Albert Einstein 1879-1955
German-born American
explained Brownian motion and photoelectric effect; contributed to theory of atomic spectra; formulated theories of special and general relativity
Otto Hahn 1879-1968
German
discovered the fission of heavy nuclei
Max von Laue 1879-1960
German
discovered diffraction of x rays by crystals
Sir Owen Richardson 1879-1959
British
discovered the basic law of thermionic emission, now called the Richardson (or Richardson-Dushman) equation, which describes the emission of electrons from a heated conductor
Clinton Joseph Davisson 1881-1958
American
co-discovered electron diffraction
Max Born 1882-1970
German-born British
contributed to creation of quantum mechanics; pioneer in the theory of crystals
Percy Williams Bridgman 1882-1961
American
invented an apparatus to produce extremely high pressures; made many discoveries in high-pressure physics
James Franck 1882-1964
German
experimentally confirmed that atomic energy states are quantized
Victor Franz Hess 1883-1964
Austrian
discovered cosmic radiation
Peter Debye 1884-1966
Dutch-born German
used methods of statistical mechanics to calculate equilibrium properties of solids; contributed to knowledge of molecular structure
Niels Bohr 1885-1962
Danish
contributed to quantum theory and to theory of nuclear reactions and nuclear fission
Karl Manne Georg Siegbahn 1886-1978
Swedish
made important experimental contributions to the field of x-ray spectroscopy
Gustav Hertz 1887-1975
German
experimentally confirmed that atomic energy states are quantized
Erwin Schrödinger 1887-1961
Austrian
contributed to creation of quantum mechanics; formulated the Schrödinger wave equation
Sir Chandrasekhara Raman 1888-1970
Indian
studied light scattering and discovered the Raman effect
Otto Stern 1888-1969
German-born American
contributed to development of the molecular beam method; discovered the magnetic moment of the proton
Frits Zernike 1888-1966
Dutch
invented the phase-contrast microscope, a type of microscope widely used for examining specimens such as biological cells and tissues
Sir William Lawrence Bragg 1890-1971
British
worked on crystal structure and x rays
Walther Bothe 1891-1957
German
devised a coincidence counter for studying cosmic rays; demonstrated validity of energy-momentum conservation at the atomic scale
Sir James Chadwick 1891-1974
British
discovered the neutron
Sir Edward Appleton 1892-1965
English
discovered the layer of the Earth's atmosphere, called the Appleton layer, which is the part of the ionosphere having the highest concentration of free electrons and is the most useful for radio transmission
Prince Louis-Victor de Broglie 1892-1987
French
predicted wave properties of the electron
Arthur Compton 1892-1962
American
discovered the increase in wavelength of x rays when scattered by an electron
Sir George Paget Thomson 1892-1975
British
co-discovered electron diffraction
Harold Clayton Urey 1893-1981
American
discovered deuterium
Pjotr Leonidovich Kapitsa 1894-1984
Soviet
heralded a new era of low-temperature physics by inventing a device for producing liquid helium without previous cooling with liquid hydrogen; demonstrated that Helium II is a quantum superfluid
Igor Y. Tamm 1895-1971
Soviet
co-developed the theoretical interpretation of the radiation of electrons moving through matter faster than the speed of light (the ``Cerenkov effect''), and developed the theory of showers in cosmic rays
Robert S. Mulliken 1896-1986
American
introduced the theoretical concept of the molecular orbital, which led to a new understanding of the chemical bond and the electronic structure of molecules
Lord Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett 1897-1974
British
developed an automatic Wilson cloud chamber; discovered electron-positron pair production in cosmic rays
Sir John Cockcroft 1897-1967
British
co-invented the first particle accelerator
Irène Joliot-Curie 1897-1956
French
co-discovered artificial radioactivity
Isador Isaac Rabi 1898-1988
Austrian-born American
developed the resonance technique for measuring the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei
Frédéric Joliot-Curie 1900-1958
French
co-discovered artificial radioactivity
Dennis Gabor 1900-1979
Hungarian
invented and developed the holographic method whereby it is possible to record and display a three-dimensional display of an object
Wolfgang Pauli 1900-1958
Austrian-born American
discovered the exclusion principle; suggested the existence of the neutrino
Enrico Fermi 1901-1954
Italian-born American
performed experiments leading to first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction; developed a theory of beta decay that introduced the weak interaction; derived the statistical properties of gases that obey the Pauli exclusion principle
Werner Heisenberg 1901-1976
German
contributed to creation of quantum mechanics; introduced the ``uncertainty principle'' and the concept of exchange forces
Ernest Orlando Lawrence 1901-1958
American
invented the cyclotron
Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac 1902-1984
British
helped found quantum electrodynamics; predicted the existence of antimatter by combining quantum mechanics with special relativity
Alfred Kastler 1902-1984
French
discovered and developed optical methods for studying the Hertzian resonances that are produced when atoms interact with radio waves or microwaves
Eugene Wigner 1902-1995
Hungarian-born American
contributed to theoretical atomic and nuclear physics; introduced concept of the nuclear cross section
Cecil F. Powell 1903-1969
British
developed the photographic emulsion method of studying nuclear processes; discovered the charged pion
Ernest Walton 1903-1995
Irish
co-invented the first particle accelerator
Pavel A. Cherenkov 1904-1990
Soviet
discovered the ``Cerenkov effect'' whereby light is emitted by a particle passing through a medium at a speed greater than that of light in the medium
Carl David Anderson 1905-1991
American
discovered the positron and the muon
Felix Bloch 1905-1983
Swiss-born American
contributed to development of the NMR technique; measured the magnetic moment of the neutron; contributed to the theory of metals
Sir Nevill F. Mott 1905-1996
British
contributed to theoretical condensed-matter physics by applying quantum theory to complex phenomena in solids; calculated cross section for relativistic Coulomb scattering
Emilio Segrè 1905-1989
Italian-born American
co-discovered the antiproton; discovered technetium
Hans Bethe 1906-2005
German-born American
contributed to theoretical nuclear physics, especially concerning the mechanism for energy production in stars
Maria Goeppert-Mayer 1906-1972
German-born American
advanced shell model of nuclear structure
Ernst Ruska 1906-1988
German
designed the first electron microscope
Shin-Ichiro Tomonaga 1906-
Japanese
co-developed quantum electrodynamics
J. Hans D. Jensen 1907-1973
German
advanced shell model of nuclear structure
Edwin M. McMillan 1907-1991
American
made discoveries concerning the transuranium elements
Hideki Yukawa 1907-1981
Japanese
predicted existence of the pion
John Bardeen 1908-1991
American
co-discovered the transistor effect; developed theory of superconductivity
Il'ja M. Frank 1908-1990
Soviet
co-developed the theoretical interpretation of the radiation of electrons moving through matter faster than the speed of light (the ``Cerenkov effect''), and carried out experimental investigations of pair creation by gamma rays
Lev Landau 1908-1968
Soviet
contributed to condensed matter theory on phenomena of superfluidity and superconductivity
Subramanyan Chandrasekhar 1910-1995
Indian-born American
made important theoretical contributions concerning the structure and evolution of stars, especially white dwarfs
William Shockley 1910-1989
American
co-discovered the transistor effect
Luis Walter Alvarez 1911-1988
American
constructed huge bubble chambers and discovered many short-lived hadrons; advanced the impact theory for the extinction of the dinosaurs
William Fowler 1911-1995
American
studied nuclear reactions of astrophysical significance; developed, with others, a theory of the formation of chemical elements in the universe
Polykarp Kusch 1911-1993
American
experimentally established that the electron has an anomalous magnetic moment and made a precision determination of its magnitude
Edward Mills Purcell 1912-1997
American
developed method of nuclear resonance absorption that permitted the absolute determination of nuclear magnetic moments; co-discovered a line in the galactic radiospectrum caused by atomic hydrogen
Glenn T. Seaborg 1912-1999
American
co-discovered plutonium and all further transuranium elements through element 102
Willis E. Lamb, Jr. 1913-2008
American
made discoveries concerning fine structure of hydrogen
Robert Hofstadter 1915-1990
American
measured charge distributions in atomic nuclei with high-energy electron scattering; measured the charge and magnetic-moment distributions in the proton and neutron
Norman F. Ramsey 1915-
American
developed the separated oscillatory fields method, which is the basis of the cesium atomic clock (our present time standard); co-invented the hydrogen maser
Clifford G. Shull 1915-2001
American
developed a neutron scattering technique in which a neutron diffraction pattern is produced that may be used to determine the atomic structure of a material
Charles H. Townes 1915-
American
created first maser using ammonia to produce coherent microwave radiation
Francis Crick 1916-
English
co-proposed the double-helix structure of DNA
Maurice Wilkins 1916-
British
investigated the structure of DNA
Bertram N. Brockhouse 1918-
Canadian
developed the technique of neutron spectroscopy for studies of condensed matter
Richard P. Feynman 1918-1988
American
co-developed quantum electrodynamics; created a new formalism for practical calculations by introducing a graphical method called Feynman diagrams
Frederick Reines 1918-1998
American
established, together with Clyde L. Cowan, Jr., the existence of the electron antineutrino by detecting them using a reactor experiment
Julian Schwinger 1918-1994
American
co-developed quantum electrodynamics
Kai M. Siegbahn 1918-
Swedish
contributed to the development of high-resolution electron spectroscopy
Nicolaas Bloembergen 1920-
Dutch-born American
contributed to the development of laser spectroscopy
Owen Chamberlain 1920-2006
American
co-discovered the antiproton
Andrei Sakharov 1921-1989
Russian
father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb; awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle for human rights, for disarmament, and for cooperation between all nations
Arthur L. Schawlow 1921-1999
American
contributed to the development of laser spectroscopy
Jack Steinberger 1921-
German-born American
made many important discoveries in particle physics; co-discovered the neutral pion via photoproduction; co-discovered the muon neutrino
Nikolai Basov 1922-2001
Soviet
worked in quantum electronics; independently worked out theoretical basis of the maser
Aage Bohr 1922-
Danish
contributed to theoretical understanding of collective motion in nuclei
Leon Lederman 1922-
American
contributed to the discovery of the muon neutrino and the bottom quark
Chen Ning Yang 1922-
Chinese-born American
co-proposed parity violation in weak interactions
Val Logsdon Fitch 1923-
American
co-discovered that decays of neutral kaons sometime violate CP conservation
Jack S. Kilby 1923-
American
invented the monolithic integrated circuit - the microchip - which laid the foundation for the field of microelectronics; co-invented the hand held calculator
Georges Charpak 1924-
French
invented the multiwire proportional chamber
Roy J. Glauber 1925-
American
made important contributions to the theoretical understanding of quantum optics and high-energy collisions
Simon van der Meer 1925-
Dutch
contributed to experiments that led to the discovery of the carriers (W± and Z°) of the weak interaction
Donald A. Glaser 1926-
American
invented the bubble chamber
Henry W. Kendall 1926-1999
American
co-discovered, through investigations of deep-inelastic electron scattering, clear signs that there exists an inner structure (quarks and gluons) in the protons and neutrons of the atomic nucleus
Ben Mottelson 1926-
American
contributed to theoretical understanding of collective motion in nuclei
Tsung-Dao Lee 1926-
Chinese-born American
co-proposed parity violation in weak interactions
Abdus Salam 1926-1996
Pakistani
co-developed gauge field theory of the electroweak interaction; suggested that the proton might be unstable
K. Alexander Müller 1927-
Swiss
co-discovered the first ceramic superconductors
Martin L. Perl 1927-
American
discovered the tau lepton
Murray Gell-Mann 1929-
American
advanced an explanation of strange particles; predicted the existence of the Omega- particle; postulated existence of quarks; founded the study of QCD
Rudolf Ludwig Mössbauer 1929-
German
experimented with resonance absorption of gamma radiation; discovered ``Mössbauer effect,'' the recoilless emission of gamma rays by nuclei
Richard E. Taylor 1929-
Canadian
co-discovered, through investigations of deep-inelastic electron scattering, clear signs that there exists an inner structure (quarks and gluons) in the protons and neutrons of the atomic nucleus
Leon Cooper 1930-
American
contributed to condensed matter theory on phenomena of superconductivity
Jerome I. Friedman 1930-
American
co-discovered, through investigations of deep-inelastic electron scattering, clear signs that there exists an inner structure (quarks and gluons) in the protons and neutrons of the atomic nucleus
James W. Cronin 1931-
American
co-discovered that decays of neutral kaons sometime violate CP conservation
David M. Lee 1931-
American
co-discovered that the isotope Helium-3 becomes a quantum superfluid near absolute zero
Burton Richter 1931-
American
carried out an experiment leading to the discovery of charmonium
J. Robert Schrieffer 1931-
American
contributed to condensed matter theory on phenomena of superconductivity
Pierre-Gilles de Gennes 1932-2007
French
developed theories in condensed matter physics applicable to liquid crystals and polymers
Sheldon Glashow 1932-
American
co-developed gauge field theory of the electroweak interaction
Melvin Schwartz 1932-2006
American
proposed that it should be possible to produce and use a beam of neutrinos; co-discovered the muon neutrino
Claude Cohen-Tannoudji 1933-
French
developed methods, with his colleagues, of using laser light to cool helium atoms to a temperature of about 0.18 µK and capturing the chilled atoms in a trap
Arno A. Penzias 1933-
German-born American
co-discovered the cosmic microwave background radiation
Heinrich Rohrer 1933-
Swiss
co-designed the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), a type of microscope in which a fine conducting probe is held close the surface of a sample
Steven Weinberg 1933-
American
co-developed gauge field theory of the electroweak interaction
Carlo Rubbia 1934-
Italian
contributed to experiments that led to the discovery of the carriers (W± and Z°) of the weak interaction
Robert W. Wilson 1936-
American
co-discovered the cosmic microwave background radiation
Samuel C. C. Ting 1936-
American
carried out an experiment leading to the discovery of charmonium
Kenneth Wilson 1936-
American
invented renormalization group methods to develop a theory for critical phenomena in connection with phase transitions; contributed to solving QCD using lattice gauge theory
Robert C. Richardson 1937-
American
co-discovered that the isotope Helium-3 becomes a quantum superfluid near absolute zero
Brian Josephson 1940-
British
contributed to theoretical predictions of the properties of a supercurrent through a tunnel barrier
David J. Gross 1941-
American
co-discovered ``asymptotic freedom'' in non-Abelian gauge theories; contributed to the development of string theory
Klaus von Klitzing 1943-
German
discovered the quantized Hall effect
Douglas D. Osheroff 1945-
American
co-discovered that the isotope Helium-3 becomes a quantum superfluid near absolute zero
Gerard t' Hooft 1946-
Dutch
contributed to theoretical understanding of gauge theories in elementary particle physics, quantum gravity and black holes, and fundamental aspects of quantum physics
Gerd Binnig 1947-
German
co-designed the scanning tunneling microscope (STM), a type of microscope in which a fine conducting probe is held close the surface of a sample
Steven Chu 1948-
American
developed the Doppler cooling method of using laser light (optical molasses) to cool gases and capturing the chilled atoms in a magneto-optical trap (MOT)
William D. Phillips 1948-
American
developed, with his colleagues, a device called a Zeeman slower, with which he could slow down and capture atoms in a purely magnetic trap
H. David Politzer 1949-
American
co-discovered ``asymptotic freedom'' in non-Abelian gauge theories; co-predicted the existence of charmonium - the bound state of a charm quark and its antiparticle
J. Georg Bednorz 1950-
German
co-discovered the first ceramic superconductors
Robert Laughlin 1950-
American
developed a theory of quantum fluids that explained the fractional quantum Hall effect
Frank Wilczek 1951-
American
co-discovered ``asymptotic freedom'' in non-Abelian gauge theories; contributed to the study of ``anyons'' (particle-like excitations in two-dimensional systems that obey ``fractional statistics'')
Others
Wallace Clement Sabine 1868-1919
American
founded the science of architectural acoustics
Arnold Sommerfeld 1868-1951
German
generalized the circular orbits of the atomic Bohr model to elliptical orbits; introduced the magnetic quantum number; used statistical mechanics to explain the electronic properties of metals
Lise Meitner 1878-1968
Austrian-born Swedish
co-discovered the element protactinium and studied the effects of neutron bombardment on uranium; introduced term ``fission'' for splitting the atomic nucleus
Paul Ehrenfest 1880-1933
Austrian
applied quantum mechanics to rotating bodies; helped develop the modern statistical theory of nonequilibrium thermodynamics
Theodor von Kármán 1881-1963
Hungarian-born American
provided major contributions to our understanding of fluid mechanics, turbulence theory, and supersonic flight
Walther Meissner 1882-1974
German
co-discovered the ``Meissner effect'', whereby a superconductor expells a magnetic field
Hans Geiger 1883-1945
German
helped measure charge-to-mass ratio for alpha particles; invented Geiger counter for detecting ionizing particles
Hermann Weyl 1885-1955
German
attempted to incorporate electromagnetism into general relativity; evolved the concept of continuous groups using matrix representations and applied group theory to quantum mechanics
Arthur Jeffrey Dempster 1886-1950
Canadian-born American
discovered the isotope uranium-235
Henry Moseley 1887-1915
British
developed the modern form of the period table of elements based on their atomic numbers
Sir Robert Watson-Watt 1892-1973
Scottish
developed radar
Satyendra Bose 1894-1974
Indian
worked out statistical method of handling bosons (a group of particles named in his honor)
Oskar Klein 1894-1977
Swedish
introduced the physical notion of extra dimensions that helped develop the Kaluza-Klein theory; co-developed the Klein-Gordon equation describing the relativistic behavior of spinless particles; co-developed the Klein-Nishina formula describing relativistic electron-photon scattering
Vladimir A. Fock 1898-1974
Russian
made fundamental contributions to quantum theory; invented the Hartree-Fock approximation method and the notion of Fock space
Leo Szilard 1898-1964
Hungarian-born American
first suggested possibility of a nuclear chain reaction
Pierre Auger 1899-1993
French
discovered the Auger effect whereby an electron is ejected from an atom without the emission of an x-ray or gamma-ray photon as the result of the de-excitation of an excited electron within the atom; discovered cosmic-ray air showers
Ernst Ising 1900-1998
German-born American
developed the Ising model of ferromagnetism
Fritz London 1900-1954
German-born American
co-developed the phenomenological theory of superconductivity; co-developed the first quantum-mechanical treatment of the hydrogen molecule; determined that the electromagnetic gauge is the phase of the Schrödinger wave function
Charles Francis Richter 1900-1985
American
established the Richter scale for the measurement of earthquake intensity
George E. Uhlenbeck 1900-1988
Dutch
co-discovered that the electron has an intrinsic spin
Robert J. Van de Graaf 1901-1967
American
invented the Van de Graaf electrostatic generator
Samuel Abraham Goudsmit 1902-1978
Dutch
co-discovered that the electron has an intrinsic spin
Igor Vasilievich Kurchatov 1903-1960
Soviet
headed the Soviet atomic and hydrogen bomb programs
John von Neumann 1903-1957
Hungarian-born American
formulated a fully quantum mechanical generalization of statistical mechanics
George Gamow 1904-1968
Russian-born American
first suggested hydrogen fusion as source of solar energy; introduced the term ``Big Bang''
J. Robert Oppenheimer 1904-1967
American
headed Manhattan Project to develop the nuclear fission bomb
Sir Rudolf Peierls 1907-1995
German-born British
many contributions in theoretical physics, including an improved calculation of the critical mass needed to make a fission bomb
Edward Teller 1908-2003
Hungarian-born American
helped develop atomic and hydrogen bombs
Victor F. Weisskopf 1908-
Austrian-born American
made theoretical contributions to quantum electrodynamics, nuclear structure, and elementary particle physics
Homi Jehangir Bhabha 1909-1966
Indian
initiated nuclear research programs in India; carried out experiments in cosmic rays; calculated cross section for elastic electron-positron scattering
Nikolai N. Bogolubov 1909-1992
Russian
theoretical physicist and mathematician who contributed to the microscopic theory of superfluidity; also contributed to theory of elementary particles, including the S-matrix and dispersion relations, and to nonlinear mechanics and the general theory of dynamical systems
Maurice Goldhaber 1911-
Austrian-born American
first measured (with James Chadwick) an accurate mass for the neutron; participated in experiments proving that beta rays are identical to atomic electrons; developed (with Edward Teller) the concept of coherent oscillations of protons and neutrons in nuclei leading to the giant dipole resonance; performed an experiment showing that neutrinos are created with negative helicity, which provided conclusive evidence for the V-A theory of weak interactions; participated in experiments that obtained an upper limit on the rate of proton decay and that provided evidence for neutrino oscillations
Chien-Shiung Wu 1912-1997
Chinese-born American
experimentally proved that parity is not conserved in nuclear beta decay
Henry Primakoff 1914-1983
Russian-born American
co-developed the theory of spin waves; first described the process that became known as the ``Primakoff effect'' (the coherent photoproduction of neutral mesons in the electric field of an atomic nucleus); contributed to understanding of various manifestations of the weak interaction, including muon capture, double-beta decay, and the interaction of neutrinos with nuclei
Robert Rathbun Wilson 1914-2000
American
driving force behind creation of Fermilab and Cornell University's Laboratory of Nuclear Studies; a leader in the formation of the Federation of Atomic Scientists; did extensive measurements of kaon and pion photoproduction in which he made the first observation of a new state of the nucleon, N(1440)
Vitaly L. Ginzburg 1916-2009
Russian
contributed to theory of superconductivity and theory of high-energy processes in astrophysics; co-discovered transition radiation, emitted when charged particles traverse interface between two different media
Robert E. Marshak 1916-1993
American
contributed to theoretical particle physics; independently proposed (with George Sudarshan) the V-A theory of weak interactions; developed explanation of how shock waves behave under conditions of extremely high temperatures
Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky 1919-2007
German-born American
co-discovered the neutral pion via photoproduction; studied gamma rays from pi- captured in hydrogen and first measured the ``Panofsky ratio''
Robert V. Pound 1919-
Canadian-born American
used the Mössbauer effect to measure (with Glen A. Rebka, Jr.) the gravitational redshift predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity
Vernon W. Hughes 1921-2003
American
participated in experiments to test the fundamental QED interaction using the muonium atom
Yoichiro Nambu 1921-
Japanese-born American
contributed to elementary particle theory; recognized the role played by spontaneous symmetry-breaking in analogy with superconductivity theory; formulated the gauge theorgy of color, quantum chromodynamics
Freeman J. Dyson 1923-
British-born American
made many important contribututions to quantum field theory, including the demonstration that the Feynman rules are direct and rigorous consequences of quantum field theory; advocated exploration of the solar system by humans; speculated on the possibility of extraterrestrial civilizations
Calvin F. Quate 1923-
American
made pioneering contributions to nanoscale measurement science through the development and application of scanning probe microscropes
Lincoln Wolfenstein 1923-
American
contributed to theory of weak interactions, especially concerning neutrino masses, the origin of CP violation, lepton number violation, the solar neutrino problem, and Higgs boson properties
James E. Zimmerman 1923-1999
American
co-invented the radio-frequency superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID), a practical magnetometer/amplifier with extreme sensitivity limited only by the uncertainty principle
Felix Hans Boehm 1924-
Swiss-born American
pioneered the use of nuclear-physics techniques for exploring fundamental questions concerning the weak interactions and the nature of neutrinos
Ernest M. Henley 1924-
German-born American
contributed to the theoretical understanding of how symmetries place restrictions on theories and models; the connection of quarks and gluons to nucleon-meson degrees of freedom; the changes that occur when hadrons are placed in a nuclear medium
Benoit Mandelbrot 1924-
developed theory of fractals
D. Allan Bromley 1926-2005
Canadian
served as Science Advisor to the President of the United States; carried out pioneering studies of nuclear structure and dynamics; considered the father of modern heavy-ion science
Sidney D. Drell 1926-
American
made important theoretical contributions to particle physics and quantum electrodynamics; specialist in arms control and national security
Albert V. Crewe 1927-
British-born American
developed the first practical scanning electron microscope
John Stewart Bell 1928-1990
Irish
proved the inherent nonlocality of quantum mechanics
Stanley Mandelstam 1928-
South African
contributed to the modern understanding of relativistic particle scattering through his representation of the analytic properties of scattering amplitudes in the form of double dispersion relations (Mandelstam representation); applied path-integral quantization methods to string theory
Peter Higgs 1929-
British
proposed with others the Higgs mechanism by which particles are endowed with mass by interacting with the Higgs field, which is carried by Higgs bosons
Mildred S. Dresselhaus 1930-
American
contributed to the advance of solid-state physics, especially involving carbon-based materials, including fullerenes and nanotubes (a.k.a., buckyballs and buckytubes)
Joel Lebowitz 1930-
Swiss-born American
contributed to condensed matter theory, especially involving statistical mechanics: phase transitions; derivation of hydrodynamical equations from microscopic kinetics; statistical mechanics of plasmas
John P. Schiffer 1930-
American
studied nuclear structure, pion absorption in nuclei, ion traps and crystalline beams, heavy-ion physics, and the Mössbauer effect
Akito Arima ca. 1931-
Japanese
co-developed the Interacting Boson Model of the atomic nucleus
T. Kenneth Fowler 1931-
American
contributed to the theory of plasma physics and magnetic fusion
Tullio Regge 1931-
Italian
developed the theory of Regge trajectories by investigating the asymptotic behavior of potential-scattering processes through the analytic continuation of the angular momentum to the complex plane
Oscar Wallace Greenberg 1932-
American
introduced color as a quantum number to resolve the quark statistics paradox
John Dirk Walecka 1932-
American
contributed to the theoretical understanding of the atomic nucleus as a relativistic quantum many-body system; provided theoretical guidance in exploiting electromagnetic and weak probes of the nucleus
Daniel Kleppner 1932-
American
co-invented the hydrogen maser; explores quantum chaos by optical spectroscopy of Rydberg atoms
Jeffrey Goldstone 1933-
American
contributed to understanding the role of massless particles in spontaneous symmetry breaking (Goldstone bosons)
John N. Bahcall 1934-2005
American
made important theoretical contributions to understanding solar neutrinos and quasars
James D. Bjorken 1934-
American
formulated the scaling law for deep inelastic processes and made other outstanding contributions to particle physics and quantum field theory
Ludvig Faddeev 1934-
Russian
made many theoretical contributions in quantum field theory and mathematical physics; developed the Faddeev equation in connection with the three-body system; co-developed the Faddeev-Popov covariant prescription for quantizing non-Abelian gauge theories; contributed to the quantum inverse scattering method and the quantum theory of solitons
David J. Thouless 1934-
American
contributed to condensed matter theory, especially vortices in superfluids, the quantum Hall effect, and topological quantum numbers
Peter A. Carruthers 1935-1997
American
contributed to several areas of theoretical physics, including condensed matter, quantum optics, elementary particle physics, and field theory; statistics and dynamics of galaxy distributions
Gordon A. Baym 1935-
American
contributed to several areas of theoretical physics, including condensed matter, low-temperature physics including superfluidity, statistical physics, nuclear physics, and astrophysics; made advances in quantum statistical mechanics and the study of neutron stars
Stanley J. Brodsky 1940-
American
contributed to theoretical understanding of high-energy physics, especially the quark-gluon structure of hadrons in quantum chromodynamics
Haim Harari 1940-
Israeli
predicted the existence of the top quark, which he named; also named the bottom quark
Kip S. Thorne 1940-
American
contributed to theoretical understanding of black holes and gravitational radiation; co-founded the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory Project (LIGO)
Francesco Iachello 1942-
Italian-born American
co-developed the Interacting Boson Model of the atomic nucleus; introduced supersymmetry in nuclei (1980); developed the Vibron Model of molecules (1981)
Gabriele Veneziano 1942-
Italian
first introduced string theory to describe the strong force without using quantum fields
Chris Quigg 1944-
American
contributed to theoretical understanding of high-energy collisions and the fundamental interactions of elementary particles
Thomas A. Witten 1944-
American
contributed to theory of soft condensed matter; structured fluids
Howard Georgi 1947-
American
co-developed the SU(5) and SO(10) grand unified theories of all elementary particle forces; developed the modern QCD-inspired quark model; helped develop the modern theory of perturbative QCD
Nathan Isgur 1947-2001
American
contributed to understanding the quark structure of baryon resonances; discovered a new symmetry of nature that describes the behavior of heavy quarks
Edward Witten 1951-
American
made fundamental contributions to manifold theory, string theory, and the theory of supersymmetric quantum mechanics
Ralph Charles Merkle 1952-
American
leading theorist of molecular nanotechnology; invented the encryption technology that allows secure translations over the internet
K. Eric Drexler 1955-
American
father of nanotechnology
Nathan Seiberg 1956-
American
contributed to the development of supersymmetric field theories and string theories in various dimensions
Stephen Wolfram 1959-
British
created Mathematica, the first modern computer algebra system; contributed to development of complexity theory