The Smartest Photograph Ever Take
The Solvay Conference, founded by the Belgian industrialist Ernest Solvay in 1912, was considered a turning point in the world of physics. Located in Brussels, the conferences were devoted to outstanding preeminent open problems in both physics and chemistry. The most famous conference was the October 1927 Fifth Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons, where the world’s most notable physicists met to discuss the newly formulated quantum theory. The leading figures were Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr.
Back: Auguste Piccard, Émile Henriot, Paul Ehrenfest, Édouard Herzen, Théophile de Donder, Erwin Schrödinger, JE Verschaffelt, Wolfgang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, Ralph Fowler, Léon Brillouin.
Middle: Peter Debye, Martin Knudsen, William Lawrence Bragg, Hendrik Anthony Kramers, Paul Dirac, Arthur Compton, Louis de Broglie, Max Born, Niels Bohr.
Front: Irving Langmuir, Max Planck, Marie Curie, Hendrik Lorentz, Albert Einstein, Paul Langevin, Charles-Eugène Guye, CTR Wilson, Owen Richardson.
The scientists on the picture:
Auguste Piccard designed ships to explore the upper stratosphere and the deep seas (bathyscaphe, 1948).
Emile Henriot detected the natural radioactivity of potassium and rubidium. He made ultracentrifuges possible and pioneered the electron microscope.
Paul Ehrenfest remarked (in 1909) that Special Relativity makes the rim of a spinning disk shrink but not its diameter. This contradiction with Euclidean geometry inspired Einstein’s General Relativity. Ehrenfest was a great teacher and a pioneer of quantum theory.
Edouard Herzen is one of only 7 people who participated in the two Solvay conferences of 1911 and 1927. He played a leading role in the development of physics and chemistry during the twentieth century.
Théophile de Donder defined chemical affinity in terms of the change in the free enthalpy. He founded the thermodynamics of irreversible processes, which led his student Ilya Prigogine (1917-2006) to a Nobel prize.
Erwin Schrödinger matched observed quantum behavior with the properties of a continuous nonrelativistic wave obeying the Schrödinger Equation. In 1935, he challenged the Copenhagen Interpretation, with the famous tale of Schrödinger’s cat. He shared the nobel prize with Dirac.
Jules Emile Verschaffelt, the Flemish physicist, got his doctorate under Kamerlingh Onnes in 1899.
Wolfgang Pauli formulated the exclusion principle which explains the entire table of elements. Pauli’s sharp tongue was legendary; he once said about a bad paper: “This isn’t right; this isn’t even wrong.”
Werner Heisenberg replaced Bohr’s semi-classical orbits by a new quantum logic which became known as matrix mechanics (with the help of Born and Jordan). The relevant noncommutativity entails Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.
Sir Ralph Howard Fowler supervised 15 FRS and 3 Nobel laureates. In 1923, he introduced Dirac to quantum theory.
Léon Nicolas Brillouin practically invented solid state physics (Brillouin zones) and helped develop the technology that became the computers we use today.
Peter Debye pioneered the use of dipole moments for asymmetrical molecules and extended Einstein’s theory of specific heat to low temperatures by including low-energy phonons.
Martin Knudsen revived Maxwell’s kinetic theory of gases, especially at low pressure: Knudsen flow, Knudsen number etc.
William Lawrence Bragg was awarded the Nobel prize for physics jointly with his father Sir William Henry Bragg for their work on the analysis of the structure of crystals using X-ray diffraction.
Hendrik Kramers was the first foreign scholar to seek out Niels Bohr. He became his assistant and helped develop what became known as Bohr’s Institute, where he worked on dispersion theory.
Paul Dirac came up with the formalism on which quantum mechanics is now based. In 1928, he discovered a relativistic wave function for the electron which predicted the existence of antimatter, before it was actually observed.
Arthur Holly Compton figured that X-rays collide with electrons as if they were relativistic particles, so their frequency shifts according to the angle of deflection (Compton scattering).
Louis de Broglie discovered that any particle has wavelike properties, with a wavelength inversely proportional to its momentum (this helps justify Schrödinger’s equation).
Max Born’s probabilistic interpretation of Schrödinger’s wave function ended determinism in physics but provided a firm ground for quantum theory.
Irving Langmuir was an American chemist and physicist. His most noted publication was the famous 1919 article “The Arrangement of Electrons in Atoms and Molecules”.
Max Planck originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. He proposed that exchanges of energy only occur in discrete lumps, which he dubbed quanta.
Niels Bohr started the quantum revolution with a model where the orbital angular momentum of an electron only has discrete values. He spearheaded the Copenhagen Interpretation which holds that quantum phenomena are inherently probabilistic.
Marie Curie was the first woman to earn a Nobel prize and the first person to earn two. In 1898, she isolated two new elements (polonium and radium) by tracking their ionizing radiation, using the electrometer of Jacques and Pierre Curie.
Hendrik Lorentz discovered and gave theoretical explanation of the Zeeman effect. He also derived the transformation equations subsequently used by Albert Einstein to describe space and time.
Albert Einstein developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics).He is best known in popular culture for his mass–energy equivalence formula (which has been dubbed “the world’s most famous equation”). He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect”.
Paul Langevin developed Langevin dynamics and the Langevin equation. He had a love affair with Marie Curie.
Charles-Eugène Guye was a professor of Physics at the University of Geneva. For Guye, any phenomenon could only exist at certain observation scales.
Charles Thomson Rees Wilson reproduced cloud formation in a box. Ultimately, in 1911, supersaturated dust-free ion-free air was seen to condense along the tracks of ionizing particles. The Wilson cloud chamber detector was born.
Sir Owen Willans Richardson won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1928 for his work on thermionic emission, which led to Richardson’s Law.
(Photo credit: Benjamin Couprie, Institut International de Physique de Solvay.
- Robert Nickels (ranickels), 05/11/2019
- Robert Nickels (ranickels), 04/20/2019
- Robert Nickels (ranickels), 04/14/2019
Hazard E. Reeves (1906-1986) may not be a household name, but his work is well known to every moviegoer. He was an American pioneer in sound and sound electronics, and introduced stereophonic sound for motion pictures. He met Fred Waller at the 1939 World's Fair and saw the potential of Waller's "Vitarama" system which he invested in and which soon became the mo... READ MORE
Hazard E. Reeves - audio pioneer and defense contractorMaking crystals in midtown Manhattan during WWII
- BRADLEY STONE (NB9M), 04/12/2019
- Robert Nickels (ranickels), 03/18/2019
In the 5 or so years I've been using the Epson oscillators I've looked at the spectral output many times. Without a doubt the harmonic output from the Epson oscillator is high as would be expected from a square wave device. The question to me has always been "does it matter"?PLL controlled digital oscillators have long been used as LOs in recei... READ MORE
Spectral Purity using Epson Programmable OscillatorsDo harmonics matter if there's no way for them to be heard?
Category: Crystal Replacement
- Robert Nickels (ranickels), 03/12/2019
When I was a kid, my dad gave me a thin hardcover book called "Boys Fun Book - Things to Make and Do". It was printed during WWII on very thin paper as a wartime conservation measure, but was chock-full of interesting projects, ranging from hobbies and magic tricks to sports, puzzles, camping...and the chapter I was drawn to: "Unusual Radios You Can Build You... READ MORE
The Foxhole Radioaka "Razor Blade and Safety Pin Radio"...from the Boy's Fun Book
Category: Vintage Radio
- Robert Nickels (ranickels), 03/08/2019
As anyone who likes building radios knows, it's getting harder and harder to buy RF components. One of the last casualties was the 3-section pi-wound RF chokes made by Hammond, a company that has done more than most to support the vintage radio and audio hobbies. The Toko variable inductors long favored by QRP enthuisiasts have become all but unavailable, and vari... READ MORE
Using rectifier diodes as varactor/varicap substitutesModern-day solutions for RF part obsolescence
- Robert Nickels (ranickels), 03/02/2019
The following obituary appeared in the Freeport Journal-Standard on Febr. 9, 2019. I attended a lecture by Mr. Anderson in the late 1990s after moving to Freeport and working for Honeywell where despite being a supplier to DEC, few realized the local connection existed to the founder of what once was the second-largest computer company in the world. Mr. Anderso... READ MORE
Harlan Andersson, computer pioneer and co-founder of Digital Equipment Corp.A native of my town, Freeport IL
- Robert Nickels (ranickels), 02/09/2019
A Heathkit HW-12 gave me a troubleshooting challenge the likes of which I've not seen before - or even heard of!A few days ago the transmitter wouldn't produce output, and in checking voltages and I measured -75 volts on the ALC line which should be -20. But it corrected itself and I figured it must have been a solder splash or something that cleared by itself. That theor... READ MORE
The Case of the Phantom Voltage“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
- Robert Nickels (ranickels), 02/08/2019