Physics - Essay Example

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He was a professor of electrical engineering and physics. In 1947, he began working at Bell Laboratories. He joined a physics group led by William Shockley and chemist Stanley…
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26 November John Bardeen and His Accomplishments John Bardeen, an American Physicist was born on 23rd May 1908 inMadison, Wisconsin, USA (Gribbin 36). He was a professor of electrical engineering and physics. In 1947, he began working at Bell Laboratories. He joined a physics group led by William Shockley and chemist Stanley Morgan. Walter Brattain, Gerald Pearson who was a physicist, Robert Gibney who was a chemist and Hilbert Moore who was an expert in electronics among others were also members of the group. Their aim was to find a state solid alternative to amplifiers that were made of fragile glass vacuum tube.
Besides this, he had inventions that made him unique among other physicists. In 1951, Bardeen left Bell Laboratories and went ahead to carry out his own research at Illinois. It is here that he won two major Nobel prizes in physics. His first Nobel Prize was the transistor in which he shared with William Shockley and Walter Brattain. The second Nobel Prize was for explanation of the theoretical concept of superconductivity. He shared this prize with Leon Cooper and Bob Schrieffer. The microscopic theory of superconductivity was also known as the “BCS Theory”. They were the first ones to give “a coherent explanation at the microscopic level of a wide range of intricate and fascinating phenomena in metals at low temperature, known as and related to superconductivity” (Bruus and Flensberg 325).
Besides the two Nobel prizes making him different from the other scientific geniuses in physics of the twentieth century, his “remarkable modesty, his deep interest in the application of science, and his genuine ability to collaborate easily with experimentalist and theorist alike” added to his being distinguished (Bardeen 288). Nick Holonyak, his first electrical engineering graduate student did develop the light-emitting diode thus honoring John Bardeen.
Ernest Rutherford as One of the Giants among 20th Century Physicists
Ernest Rutherford was a British physicist born in 1871 in New Zealand (Marshall Cavendish Corporation 1501). According to Eve and Wilson, Rutherford was “one of the most eminent physicists ever, and earned his scientific reputation primarily by his pioneering contributions to radioactivity and nuclear physics” (Kragh 1). In 1907 in Canada, he was greatly involved in research at Mc Gill University where he discovered atomic nucleus or radioactivity. At Victoria University of Manchester (known as university of Manchester today) together with Thomas Royds, they were able to differentiate and name the alpha and the beta radiation. They did prove that the alpha radiation is the helium nuclei.
In 1908, Rutherford who was 37 years of age won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He researched and described concepts of “disintegration of elements, and the chemistry of radioactive substances” with the subject of his Nobel Lecture being “the Chemical Nature of the Alpha Particles from Radioactive Substances” (Kragh 7). In 1911, he put forward that the concentration of charge in atoms is in a small nucleus. He then came up and interpreted the “Rutherford Scattering” in his experiment using the gold foil. In 1917, he was honored with the first “splitting the atom” in the reaction between nitrogen and the alpha particles, in which he discovered the proton.
In 1919, Rutherford became the Cavendish Laboratory Director at Cambridge University. Being under his leadership, James Chadwick discovered the neutron in 1932 and still in the same year, the initial experiment to fully split the nucleus was carried out by students who were working under his leadership. They were Ernest Walton and John Cockcroft. Even at his death in 1937, he contributed greatly to nuclear physics being on the leading edge. Because of his achievements, Ernest Rutherford is considered as the father of nuclear physics.
Works Cited
Bardeen, John. “John Bardeen 23 May 1908-30 January 1991.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 153.3 (2009): 288-321. Print.
Bruus, Henrik and Karsten Flensberg. Many-Body Quantum Theory in Condensed Matter Physics: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gribbin, Mary. Q is for Quantum: An Encyclopedia of Particle Physics. New York: Touchstone.
Kragh, Helge. Rutherford, Radioactivity and the Atomic Nucleus. n.d. PDF file.
Marshall Cavendish Corporation. Growing Up with Science. New York: Marshall Cavendish Corporation. Read More
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