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Physics-Astronomy Library Exhibits: Photographs in the Library


Please find information below about the photographs on display in the Physics-Astronomy Library.

Physics-Astronomy Library Photographs on Display


(Clockwise from top right)


George Ellery Hale (1868-1938)

Hale was an American solar astronomer, best known for his discovery of magnetic fields in sunspots, and as a key figure in the planning of several telescopes, specifically, the 40-inch refracting telescope at Yerkes Observatory, 60-inch Hale reflecting telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory, 100-inch Hooker reflecting telescope at Mount Wilson, and the 200-inch Hale reflecting telescope at Palomar Observatory.


Lise Meitner (1878-1968)

Meitner was an Austrian-Swedish physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics. Otto Hahn and Meitner led the small group of scientists who first discovered nuclear fission of uranium when it absorbed an extra neutron; the results were published in early 1939. Meitner received many awards and honors late in her life, but she did not share in the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for nuclear fission that was awarded exclusively to her long-time collaborator Otto Hahn. In the 1990s, the records of the prize committee were opened, and based on this information, several scientists and journalists have called her exclusion "unjust." Meitner has received a flurry of posthumous honors, including the naming of chemical element 109 as Meitnerium in 1997.


Max Planck (1858-1947) Nobel Prize 1918

Planck was a German theoretical physicist whose discovery of energy quanta won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. Planck made many contributions to theoretical physics, but his fame as a physicist rests primarily on his role as the originator of quantum theory, which revolutionized human understanding of atomic and subatomic processes. However, his name is also known more broadly through the renaming in 1948 of the German scientific institution, the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, as the Max Planck Society (MPS). The MPS now includes 83 institutions representing a wide range of scientific directions.



September 26, 1923

Albert Einstein, Paul Ehrenfest, Willem de Sitter, Arthur Eddington, H.A. Lorentz

Einstein had traveled from a Physics convention in Bonn to Leiden where he often appeared as a guest lecturer in the early 1920s.


Niels Bohr (1855-1962) Nobel Prize 1922

Bohr was a Danish physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory. Bohr developed the Bohr model of the atom, in which he proposed that energy levels of electrons are discrete and that electrons revolve in stable orbits around the atomic nucleus but can jump from one energy level (or orbit) to another. Bohr founded the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of Copenhagen, now known as the Niels Bohr Institute, which opened in 1920. Bohr mentored and collaborated with physicists including Hans Kramers, Oskar Klein, George de Hevesy, and Werner Heisenberg. He predicted the existence of a new zirconium-like element, which was named hafnium, after the Latin name for Copenhagen, where it was discovered. Later, the element bohrium was named after him.


Maria Goeppert Mayer (1906-1972) Nobel Prize 1963

Mayer was a German-born American theoretical physicist, and Nobel laureate in Physics for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. She is one of only two women to have won the Nobel Prize in physics, but during her early career, she was forced to spend many years in unpaid positions before she was able to obtain a professorship in physics. After World War II, Goeppert Mayer became a voluntary associate professor of Physics at the University of Chicago and a senior physicist at the nearby Argonne National Laboratory. She developed a mathematical model for the structure of nuclear shells, for which she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963, which she shared with J. Hans D. Jensen and Eugene Wigner. In 1960, she was appointed full professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego.


Max Born (1882-1970) Nobel Prize 1954

Born was a German physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 1930s. Born won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics for his "fundamental research in Quantum Mechanics, especially in the statistical interpretation of the wave function." His influence extended far beyond his own research. Max Delbrück, Siegfried Flügge, Friedrich Hund, Pascual Jordan, Maria Goeppert-Mayer, Lothar Wolfgang Nordheim, Robert Oppenheimer, and Victor Weisskopf all received their Ph.D. degrees under Born at Göttingen, and his assistants included Enrico Fermi, Werner Heisenberg, Gerhard Herzberg, Friedrich Hund, Pascual Jordan, Wolfgang Pauli, Léon Rosenfeld, Edward Teller, and Eugene Wigner.


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