It all started like this - Pioneers

André-Marie Ampère's father, Jean-Jacques Ampère, was a prosperous man who owned a home in Lyon and a country house in Poleymieux, which is only 10 km from Lyon. Up till André-Marie was seven years old the family spent most of the year in Lyon except the summer months which were spent at Poleymieux. However, in 1782, the home at Poleymieux became their main residence since André-Marie's father wished to spend more time on his son's education. Only a short time in winter was spent at Lyon where André-Marie's father saw to his business interests...
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While Ampère was in Bourg he spent much time teaching physics and chemistry but his research was in mathematics. This research resulted in him composing a treatise on probability, The Mathematical Theory of Games, which he submitted to the Paris Academy in 1803. Laplace noticed an error, explaining the error to Ampère in a letter, which Ampère was able to correct and the treatise was reprinted. In fact the treatise was modified a number of times and Ampère was reluctant to call it completed for fear that further changes might be required. This work was followed by one on the calculus of variations in 1803. Although a mathematics professor, his interests included, in addition to mathematics, metaphysics, physics and chemistry. In mathematics he worked on partial differential equations, producing a classification which he presented to the Institut in 1814.

This seems to have been a crucial step in his election to the Institut National des Sciences in November 1814 when he defeated Cauchy, receiving 28 of the 56 votes cast. Ampère was also making significant contributions to chemistry. In 1811 he suggested that an anhydrous acid prepared two years earlier was a compound of hydrogen with an unknown element, analogous to chlorine, for which he suggested the name fluorine. After concentrating on mathematics as he sought admission to the Institut, Ampère returned to chemistry after his election in 1814 and produced a classification of elements in 1816. Ampère also worked on the theory of light, publishing on refraction of light in 1815. By 1816 he was a strong advocate of a wave theory of light, agreeing with Fresnel and opposed to Biot and Laplace who advocated a corpuscular theory. Fresnel became a good friend of Ampère's and lodged at Ampère's home from 1822 until his death in 1827. In the early 1820s, Ampère attempted to give a combined theory of electricity and magnetism after hearing about experimental results by the Danish physicist Hans Christian Orsted. Ampère formulated a circuit force law and treated magnetism by postulating small closed circuits inside the magnetised substance.

Life : 1775 -1836
Country : France
Svante Arrhenius, in full Svante August Arrhenius, (born February 19, 1859, Vik, Sweden—died October 2, 1927, Stockholm), Swedish physicist and physical chemist known for his theory of electrolytic dissociation and his model of the greenhouse effect. In 1903 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry...
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Arrhenius’s scientific career encompassed three distinct specialties within the broad fields of physics and chemistry: physical chemistry, cosmic physics, and the chemistry of immunology. Each phase of his career corresponds with a different institutional setting. His years (1884–90) as a doctoral and postdoctoral student pioneering the new physical chemistry were spent at the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences in Stockholm and at foreign universities; his work in cosmic physics (1895–1900) was carried out at the Stockholms Högskola (now the University of Stockholm); and his studies in immunochemistry (1901–07) took place at the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen and the Nobel Institute for Physical Chemistry (established in 1905) in Stockholm.

Arrhenius’s main contribution to physical chemistry was his theory (1887) that electrolytes, certain substances that dissolve in water to yield a solution that conducts electricity, are separated, or dissociated, into electrically charged particles, or ions, even when there is no current flowing through the solution. This radically new way of approaching the study of electrolytes first met with opposition but gradually won adherents through the efforts of Arrhenius and Ostwald. The same simple but brilliant way of thinking that inspired the dissociation hypothesis led Arrhenius in 1889 to express the temperature dependence of the rate constants of chemical reactions through what is now known as the Arrhenius equation. Arrhenius’s work in immunochemistry, a term that gained currency through his book of that title published in 1907, was an attempt to study toxin-antitoxin reactions, principally diphtheria reactions, using the concepts and methods developed in physical chemistry. Together with Torvald Madsen, director of the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, he carried out wide-ranging experimental studies of bacterial toxins as well as plant and animal poisons. The technical difficulties were too great, however, for Arrhenius to realize his aim of making immunology an exact science. Instead, it was his spirited attacks on the reigning theory in the field of immunity studies, the side-chain theory formulated by the German medical scientist Paul Ehrlich, that attracted attention. This, however, was of short duration, and Arrhenius gradually abandoned the field.

Life : 1859 - 1927
Country : Sweden
John Bardeen, (born May 23, 1908, Madison, Wis., U.S.—died Jan. 30, 1991, Boston, Mass.), American physicist who was cowinner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in both 1956 and 1972. He shared the 1956 prize with William B. Shockley and Walter H. Brattain for their joint invention of the transistor. With Leon N. Cooper and John R. Schrieffer he was awarded the 1972 prize for development of the theory of superconductivity...
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After the war Bardeen joined (1945) the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., where he, Brattain, and Shockley conducted research on the electron-conducting properties of semiconductors. On Dec. 23, 1947, they unveiled the transistor, which ushered in the electronic revolution. The transistor replaced the larger and bulkier vacuum tube and provided the technology for miniaturizing the electronic switches and other components needed in the construction of computers. In the early 1950s Bardeen resumed research he had begun in the 1930s on superconductivity, and his Nobel Prize-winning investigations provided a theoretical explanation of the disappearance of electrical resistance in materials at temperatures close to absolute zero. The BCS theory of superconductivity (from the initials of Bardeen, Cooper, and Schrieffer) was first advanced in 1957 and became the basis for all later theoretical work in superconductivity. Bardeen was also the author of a theory explaining certain properties of semiconductors. He served as a professor of electrical engineering and physics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, from 1951 to 1975.
Life : 1908 - 1991
Country : Madison, Wisconsin
Video : Transistor
Bednorz was born in Neuenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany to elementary-school teacher Anton and piano teacher Elisabeth Bednorz, as the youngest of four children. His parents were both from Silesia in Central Europe, but were forced to move westwards in turbulences of World War II. As a child, his parents tried to get him interested in classical music, but he was more practically inclined, preferring to work on motorcycles and cars. (Although as a teenager he did eventually learn to play the violin and trumpet.) In high school he developed an interest in the natural sciences, focusing on chemistry, which he could learn in a hands-on manner through experiments...
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In 1968, Bednorz enrolled at the University of Münster to study chemistry. However, he soon felt lost in the large body of students, and optrf to switch to the much less popular subject of crystallography, a subfield of mineralogy at the interface of chemistry and physics. In 1972, his teachers Wolfgang Hoffmann and Horst Böhm arranged for him to spend the summer at the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory as a visiting student. The experience here would shape his further career: not only did he meet his later collaborator K. Alex Müller, the head of the physics department, but he also experienced the atmosphere of creativity and freedom cultivated at the IBM lab, which he credits as a strong influence on his way of conducting science. After another visit in 1973, he came to Zurich in 1974 for six months to do the experimental part of his diploma work. Here he grew crystals of SrTiO3, a ceramic material belonging to the family of perovskites. Müller, himself interested in perovskites, urged him to continue his research, and after obtaining his master's degree from Münster in 1977 Bednorz started a PhD at the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) under supervision of Heini Gränicher and Alex Müller. In 1978, his future wife, Mechthild Wennemer, whom he had met in Münster, followed him to Zürich to start her own PhD. In 1982, after obtaining his PhD, he joined the IBM lab. There, he joined Müller's ongoing research on superconductivity. In 1983, Bednorz and Müller began a systematic study of the electrical properties of ceramics formed from transition metal oxides, and in 1986 they succeeded in inducing superconductivity in a lanthanum barium copper oxide (LaBaCuO, also known as LBCO). The oxide's critical temperature (Tc) was 35 K, a full 12 K higher than the previous record. This discovery stimulated a great deal of additional research in high-temperature superconductivity on cuprate materials with structures similar to LBCO, soon leading to the discovery of compounds such as BSCCO (Tc 107K) and YBCO (Tc 92K).
Life : 1950 until today
Country : Germany
Gerd Binnig, (born July 20, 1947, Frankfurt am Main, W.Ger.), German-born physicist who shared with Heinrich Rohrer (q.v.) half of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Physics for their invention of the scanning tunneling microscope. (Ernst Ruska won the other half of the prize.)..
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Binnig graduated from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt and received a doctorate from the University of Frankfurt in 1978. He then joined the IBM Research Laboratory in Zürich, where he and Rohrer designed and built the first scanning tunneling microscope (STM). This instrument produces images of the surfaces of conducting or semiconducting materials in such fine detail that individual atoms can be clearly identified. Quantum mechanical effects cause an electric current to pass between the extremely fine tip of the STM’s tungsten probe and the surface being studied, and the distance between the probe and the surface is kept constant by measuring the current produced and adjusting the probe’s height accordingly. By recording the varying elevations of the probe, a topographical map of the surface is obtained on which the contour intervals are so small that individual atoms are clearly recognizable. The tip of the STM’s probe is only about one angstrom wide (one ten-billionth of a metre, or about the width of an atom), and the distance between it and the surface being studied is only about 5 or 10 angstroms. In 1984 Binnig joined the IBM Physics Group in Munich. In 1989 he published the book Aus dem Nichts (“Out of Nothing”), which posited that creativity grows from disorder.
Life : 1947 until today
Country : Germany
Bloch is considered one of the founders of solid-state physics. He made particularly significant contributions to the quantum theory of metals and solids, he worked on the magnetic scattering of neutrons and, together with Luis Alvarez, he experimentally measured the magnetic moment of the neutron. His discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance won him the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1952, which he shared with Edward Mills Purcell...
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Research on Theory of Metals and Collective Phenomena. Felix Bloch proposed a satisfactory electron theory of conduction on the basis of quantum mechanics in his doctoral thesis, “Über die Quantenmechanik der Elektronen in Kristallgittern’’ (The quantum mechanics of electrons in crystal lattices), which was published in the Zeitschrift für Physik (1928). The electrons in a metal were considered to be uncoupled, though the field in which any one electron moved was found by an averaging process over the other electrons. If the metal was at absolute zero, its lattice determined a periodic potential field for the electronic motions, and the electrical resistance by the immobile lattice was zero. An electron could move freely through a perfect crystal and a finite free path could only be due to the imperfections in the lattice. In general the imperfections were caused predominantly by the thermal motion of the atoms and were strongly temperature dependent, increasing with increasing temperature. Impurities, however, also scattered the electrons, but in this case the free path would not vary appreciably with temperature. The resistance, therefore, consisted of the “impurity resistance’’ and the resistance due to the thermal motion of the atoms. According to Bloch’s analysis of the motion of an electron in a perfect lattice, all the electrons in a metal could be considered to be “free,” but it did not necessarily follow that they were all conduction electrons. This theory accounted for metals, semiconductors, and insulators but not for superconductors. Physics of the Neutron. In March 1933, with the Nazis already in power, Bloch left Germany with a Rockefeller Fellowship. He was planning to start working in the fall with Fermi’s group in Rome. In the meantime he traveled to Paris, Utrecht, and Copenhagen, and a short while before going to Rome, he was contacted by the Physics Department of Stanford University to be offered a position there. He took the position as acting associate professor in April 1934. While in Stanford, he had the opportunity to organize seminars in theoretical physics, jointly with Robert Oppenheimer, who was at Berkeley. In the summer of 1935, he combined a trip he took to Switzerland with a trip to Copenhagen. Bohr thought that Bloch’s experience with problems of ferromagnetism would be useful for thinking about the physics of the newly discovered neutron. Since the magnetic moment of neutron had already been discovered, Bloch started considering the possibilities of polarized neutrons in ferromagnetic materials. In a letter to the Physical Review Bloch submitted in 1936, he outlined his theory of magnetic scattering of neutrons. It was also shown that the scattering could lead to a beam of polarized neutrons and how temperature variations of the ferromagnet could be used to separate the atomic scattering from the nuclear scattering. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and the Nobel Prize. After the war, Bloch devised a method for measuring atomic magnetic moments. This method he called nuclear induction. When the atomic nuclei were placed in a constant magnetic field, then their magnetic moments would be aligned. If a weak oscillating magnetic field is superposed on the constant field in a direction which is perpendicular to the constant magnetic field, then, as the Larmor frequency is approached, the original rotating polarization vector will be forced nearer the plane perpendicular to the constant magnetic field. The rotating horizontal component of the polarization vector will induce a signal in a pickup coil whose axis is perpendicular to the weak oscillating field. The exact value of the frequency that gives the maximum signal can then be used, as in the Larmor resonance formula, to calculate the magnetic moment. Using this method, the proton moment was measured and found to be in close agreement with the value that had been already determined by Rabi in his experiments with molecular beams. Bloch’s collaborators in the experiments were William. W. Hansen and a graduate student, Martin Packard.
Life : 1905 - 1983
Country : Switzerland
Walter Brattain was born in Amoy, China, on February 10, 1902, the son of Ross R. Brattain and Ottilie Houser. He spent his childhood and youth in the State of Washington and received a B.S. degree from Whitman College in 1924. He was awarded the M.A. degree by the University of Oregon in 1926 and the Ph.D. degree by the University of Minnesota in 1929...
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Dr. Brattain has been a member of the Bell Laboratories technical staff since 1929. The chief field of his research has been the surface properties of solids. His early work was concerned with thermionic emission and adsorbed layers on tungsten. He continued on into the field of rectification and photo-effects at semiconductor surfaces, beginning with a study of rectification at the surface of cuprous oxide. This work was followed by similar studies of silicon. Since World War II he has continued in the same line of research with both silicon and germanium. Dr. Brattain’s chief contributions to solid state physics have been the discovery of the photo-effect at the free surface of a semiconductor; the invention of the point-contact transistor jointly with Dr. John Bardeen, and work leading to a better understanding of the surface properties of semiconductors, undertaken first with Dr. Bardeen, later with Dr. C.G.B. Garrett, and currently with Dr. P.J. Boddy. Dr. Brattain received the honorary Doctor of Science degree from Portland University in 1952, from Whitman College and Union College in 1955, and from the University of Minnesota in 1957. In 1952 he was awarded the Stuart Ballantine Medal of the Franklin Institute, and in 1955 the John Scott Medal. The degree at Union College and the two medals were received jointly with Dr. John Bardeen, in recognition of their work on the transistor. Dr. Brattain is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the Franklin Institute; a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also a member of the commission on semiconductors of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, and of the Naval Research Advisory Committee. In 1935 he married the late Dr. Keren (Gilmore) Brattain; they had one son, William Gilmore Brattain. In 1958 he married Mrs. Emma Jane (Kirsch) Miller. Dr. Brattain lives in Summit, New Jersey, near the Murray Hill (N.J.) laboratory of Bell Telephone Laboratories.
Life : 1902-1987
Country : China, Amoy
Anders Celsius was a Swedish astronomer who is known for inventing the Celsius temperature scale. Celsius also built the Uppsala Astronomical Observatory in 1740, the oldest astronomical observatory in Sweden. Early Life and Career: Born in Uppsala, Sweden, in 1701, Anders Celsius was raised a Lutheran. His father, Nils Celsius, was an astronomy professor. Celsius completed his education in his home town; north of Stockholm. He showed an extraordinary talent in mathematics from childhood. He studied at Uppsala University where, like his father, he became a professor of astronomy in 1730...
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Contributions and Achievements: In his efforts to build an astronomical observatory in Sweden, Celsius visited several of the famous European astronomy sites from 1732 to 1734. At that time, English and French astronomers debated about the actual shape of the earth. To resolve this dispute, teams were sent to the “ends” of the world to assess the precise local positions. Pierre Louis de Maupertuis headed the expedition to the north and Celsius joined him as his assistant. The expedition to Lapland, the northernmost part of Sweden, continued from 1736 to 1737. Newton’s theory about the flattening of the earth at the poles was finally confirmed in 1744 after all measurements were taken. Celsius went back to Uppsala after the expedition. He is considered to be the first astronomer to analyze the changes of the earth’s magnetic field during the northern lights and to assess the brightness of stars with measuring tools. At Uppsala Observatory, Celsius favored the division of the temperature scale of a mercury thermometer at an air pressure of 760mm of mercury into 100 divisions or grades. The scale was defined such that 100 centigrade was taken as the freezing point and 0 centigrade was the boiling point of water. This temperature scale was later reversed, creating the Celsius, or centigrade, scale that is used today. Due to the elaborated fixation of the measuring environment and methods, this Celsius scale was thought to be more precise compared to the temperature scales of Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit (Fahrenheit scale) and Rene-Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur (Réaumur scale). Celsius was an avid admirer of the Gregorian calendar, which was adapted in Sweden in 1753, just nine years after his death. “Degree Celsius”, the unit of temperature interval, was named after this brilliant scientist. Later Life and Death: Celsius became the secretary of the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala in 1725 where he remained until his death. He died of tuberculosis in 1744.
Life : 1701-1744
Country : Sweden
Esther Marley Conwell was born May 23, 1922 in New York City. Always strong in math and science, she enrolled in Brooklyn College in 1938 when she was 16 years old. Her original goal was to use her physics degree to be a high school physics teacher, because those were the only women in science she had encountered. With the encouragement of her professor, however, Conwell went on to graduate school at the University of Rochester and received her master’s degree in physics in 1945. She continued her education and received a PhD in physics from the University of Chicago in 1948...
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Conwell’s career spans 62 years of research into semiconductors, organic crystals, conducting polymers, and DNA. She had a yearlong internship at Bell Laboratories. While there, she wrote a paper explaining the fundamentals of semiconductors which served as a standard introduction to semiconductors for many people in the years that followed. Conwell started working at Sylvania Labs (later known as GTE Labs) in 1952. She began her research there by studying the conducting properties of Germanium and Silicon. Later, she moved on to semiconductor research for telecommunications. In 1972, Conwell left GTE Labs and started working at the Xerox Webster Research Center in Rochester, New York, where she continued to expand her research on conductors. She retired from Xerox in 1998 and became a professor at the University of Rochester where she continued her research until she passed away after being hit by a car in 2014 at the age of 92. Conwell received many honors for her work over the years, including membership in the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering. She received the National Medal of Science in 2009, was chosen as one of Discover magazine’s Top 50 Women in Science in 2002, and received the Edison Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in 1997 – the first woman ever to receive that award. Only six women in the United States received similar PhDs the year Conwell received hers, and she faced many challenges as she blazed a path for women in scientific research. Early on, she was payed less than her male colleagues and found fewer positions available to her because of her gender, but she persevered and later worked to encourage and mentor other young women to enter the sciences. She received the American Chemical Society’s Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences in 2008 and the Dreyfus Foundation’s Senior Scientist Mentor Program Award in 2005. Her work as a mentor helped to pave the way for many other women to follow her footsteps into a successful research career. Conwell married Abraham Rothberg, a writer, in 1944 and had one son, Lewis J. Rothberg, who is a professor in chemistry and physics at the University of Rochester, like his mother.
Life : 1922 - 2014
Country : USA, New York City
Leon Cooper was born in 1930 in New York where he attended Columbia University (A.B. 1951; A.M. 1953; Ph.D. 1954). He became a member of the Institute for Advanced Study (1954-55) after which he was a research associate of Illinois (1955-57) and later an assistant professor at the Ohio State University (1957-58). Professor Cooper joined Brown University in 1958 where he became Henry Ledyard Goddard University Professor (1966-74) and where he is presently the Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Professor of Science (1974-)...
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Professor Cooper is Director of Brown University’s Center for Neural Science. This Center was founded in 1973 to study animal nervous systems and the human brain. Professor Cooper served as the first director with an interdisciplinary staff drawn from the Departments of Applied Mathematics, Biomedical Sciences, Linguistics and Physics. Today, Cooper, with members of the Brown Faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students with interests in the neural and cognitive sciences, is working towards an understanding of memory and other brain functions, and thus formulating a scientific model of how the human mind works. Professor Cooper has received many forms of recognition for his work in 1972, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics (with J. Bardeen and J.R. Schrieffer) for his studies on the theory of superconductivity completed while still in his 20s. In 1968, he was awarded the Comstock Prize (with J.R. Schrieffer) of the National Academy of Sciences. The Award of Excellence, Graduate Faculties Alumni of Columbia University and Descartes Medal, Academie de Paris, Université Rene Descartes were conferred on Professor Cooper in the mid 1970s. In 1985, Professor Cooper received the John Jay Award of Columbia College. He holds seven honorary doctorates. Professor Cooper has been an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, 1954-55, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow, 1959-66 and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow, 1965-66. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Sponsor, Federation of American Scientists; member of American Philosophical Society, National Academy of Sciences, Society of Neuroscience, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi. Professor Cooper is also on the Governing Board and Executive Committee of the International Neural Network Society and a member of the Defense Science Board. Professor Cooper is Co-founder and Co-chairman of Nestor, Inc., an industry leader in applying neural-network systems to commercial and military applications. Nestor’s adaptive pattern-recognition and risk-assessment systems simulated in small conventional computers learn by example to accurately classify complex patterns such as targets in sonar, radar or imaging systems, to emulate human decisions in such applications as mortgage origination and to assess risks.
Life : 1930 until today
Country : USA, New York City