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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

Neils 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

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-


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