The lists of famous physicists around the world today

The lists of Physicist, their country, their discovering and the of year of discovering

Introduction to the study of physics

NAME                                                                                               YEAR COUNTRY                                INVENTION
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)
Christian 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

Joseph-Louis 1736-1813 Lagrange 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
Niels 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
Sir  Raman Chandrasekhara 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
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 1906-1979 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, Jr. 1915-2011 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 1915-2015 American created first maser using ammonia to produce coherent microwave radiation
Francis Crick 1916-2004 English co-proposed the double-helix structure of DNA
Maurice Wilkins 1916-2004 British investigated the structure of DNA
Bertram N. Brockhouse 1918-2003 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 1918-2007 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
Yoichiro Nambu 1921-2015 Japanese-born American contributed to elementary particle theory; recognized the role played by spontaneous symmetry-breaking in analogy with superconductivity theory; formulated QCD (quantum chromodynamics), the gauge theory of color
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 1922-2009 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 1923-2015 American co-discovered that decays of neutral kaons sometime violate CP conservation
Jack S. Kilby 1923-2005 American invented the monolithic integrated circuit – the microchip – which laid the foundation for the field of microelectronics; co-invented the hand held calculator
Willard S. Boyle 1924-2011 Canadian co-invented the CCD (charge-coupled device)
Georges Charpak 1924-2010 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 1925-2011 Dutch contributed to experiments that led to the discovery of the carriers (W± and Z°) of the weak interaction
Donald A. Glaser 1926-2013 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 1927-2014 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 1929-2011 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 N. 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
George E. Smith 1930- American co-invented the CCD (charge-coupled device)
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
John 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
Charles K. Kao 1933- Chinese-born British-American pioneer in the development and use of fiber optics in telecommunications
Arno A. Penzias 1933- German-born American co-discovered the cosmic microwave background radiation
Heinrich Rohrer 1933-2013 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 1936-2013 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 1937-2013 American co-discovered that the isotope Helium-3 becomes a quantum superfluid near absolute zero
Albert Fert 1938- French co-discovered Giant Magnetoresistance, which brought about a breakthrough in gigabyte hard disks
Peter Grünberg 1939- German co-discovered Giant Magnetoresistance, which brought about a breakthrough in gigabyte hard disks
Brian Josephson Welsh contributed to theoretical predictions of the properties of a supercurrent through a tunnel barrier
Toshihide Maskawa 1940- Japanese contributed to theoretical understanding of CP-violation; co-discovered the origin of the broken symmetry that predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks
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
Makato Kobayashi 1944- Japanese contributed to theoretical understanding of CP-violation; co-discovered the origin of the broken symmetry that predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks
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
Hugh 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
Johannes 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”)
Andre Geim 1958- Dutch-Russian co-discovered a simple method for isolating single atomic layers of graphite, known as graphene
Konstantin Novoselov 1974- Russian-British co-discovered a simple method for isolating single atomic layers of graphite, known as graphene
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
Emmy Noether 1882-1935 German developed Noether’s theorem, which relates the continuous symmetries of a physical system to specific conservation laws
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
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 1908-2002 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 1911-2011 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 1916-2009 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 1919-2010 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
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 1923-2015 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 1924-2010 French-American 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 1927-2009 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 1928-2016 South African-born American 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);
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
Akito Arima 1930- Japanese co-developed the Interacting Boson Model of the atomic nucleus
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- Czech-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- Hungarian-born American studied nuclear structure, pion absorption in nuclei, ion traps and crystalline beams, heavy-ion physics, and the Mössbauer effect
T. Kenneth Fowler 1931- American contributed to the theory of plasma physics and magnetic fusion
Tullio Regge 1931-2014 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- British 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- Scottish-born 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
Kim Eric Drexler 1955- American father of nanotechnology
Nathan Seiberg 1956- Israeli American contributed to the development of supersymmetric field theories and string theories in various dimensions
Stephen Wolfram 1959- British created
Mathematical, the first modern computer algebra system; contributed to development of complexity theory

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