Nobel Laureates 1800-1900

Johannes van der Waals 1837-1923
worked on equations of state for gases and liquids
Lord Rayleigh
(born John William Strutt)
discovered argon; explained how light scattering is responsible for red color of sunset and blue color of sky
Wilhelm Röntgen 1845-1923
discovered and studied x rays
Antoine Henri Becquerel 1852-1908
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
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
liquified helium; discovered superconductivity
Sir Joseph John Thomson 1856-1940
demonstrated existence of the electron
Max Planck 1858-1947
formulated the quantum theory; explained wavelength distribution of blackbody radiation
Pierre Curie 1859-1906
studied radioactivity with wife, Marie Curie; discovered piezoelectricity
Sir William Henry Bragg 1862-1942
worked on x-ray spectrometry
Philipp von Lenard 1862-1947
studied cathode rays and the photoelectric effect
Wilhelm Wien 1864-1928
discovered laws governing radiation of heat
Pieter Zeeman 1865-1943
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
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
invented the cloud chamber
Jean Baptiste Perrin 1870-1942
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
invented the first practical system of wireless telegraphy
Johannes Stark 1874-1957
discovered splitting of spectral lines in a strong electric field
Charles Glover Barkla 1877-1944
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
discovered the fission of heavy nuclei
Max von Laue 1879-1960
discovered diffraction of x rays by crystals
Sir Owen Richardson 1879-1959
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
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
invented an apparatus to produce extremely high pressures; made many discoveries in high-pressure physics
James Franck 1882-1964
experimentally confirmed that atomic energy states are quantized
Victor Franz Hess 1883-1964
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
contributed to quantum theory and to theory of nuclear reactions and nuclear fission
Karl Manne Georg Siegbahn 1886-1978
made important experimental contributions to the field of x-ray spectroscopy
Gustav Hertz 1887-1975
experimentally confirmed that atomic energy states are quantized
Erwin Schrödinger 1887-1961
contributed to creation of quantum mechanics; formulated the Schrödinger wave equation
Sir Chandrasekhara Raman 1888-1970
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
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
worked on crystal structure and x rays
Walther Bothe 1891-1957
devised a coincidence counter for studying cosmic rays; demonstrated validity of energy-momentum conservation at the atomic scale
Sir James Chadwick 1891-1974
discovered the neutron
Sir Edward Appleton 1892-1965
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
predicted wave properties of the electron
Arthur Compton 1892-1962
discovered the increase in wavelength of x rays when scattered by an electron
Sir George Paget Thomson 1892-1975
co-discovered electron diffraction
Harold Clayton Urey 1893-1981
discovered deuterium
Pjotr Leonidovich Kapitsa 1894-1984
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
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
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
developed an automatic Wilson cloud chamber; discovered electron-positron pair production in cosmic rays
Sir John Cockcroft 1897-1967
co-invented the first particle accelerator
Irène Joliot-Curie 1897-1956
co-discovered artificial radioactivity
Isador Isaac Rabi 1898-1988
Austrian-born American
developed the resonance technique for measuring the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei