Physics in History

Historical Events


AppointmentAppointment of Interest

1770-03-31 Immanuel Kant is appointed Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at the University of Königsberg

Philosopher Immanuel Kant
Philosopher
Immanuel Kant
  • 1900-12-14 Birth of Quantum Physics: German Physicist Max Planck presents a theoretical derivation of his black-body radiation law

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1901-12-10 First Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to Wilhelm Röntgen for his discovery of X-rays

Physicist and Nobel Laureate Wilhelm Röntgen
Physicist and Nobel Laureate
Wilhelm Röntgen

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1903-12-10 Nobel Prize for physics awarded to Pierre and Marie Curie for their study of spontaneous radiation

Physicist Marie Curie
Physicist
Marie Curie

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1904-12-10 John William Strutt [Lord Rayleigh] and William Ramsay are presented with the Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery of Argon

Physicist and Nobel Laureate John William Strutt
Physicist and Nobel Laureate
John William Strutt

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1905-03-17 Albert Einstein finishes his scientific paper detailing his Quantum Theory of Light, one of the foundations of modern physics

Theoretical Physicist Albert Einstein
Theoretical Physicist
Albert Einstein
  • 1905-09-27 The physics journal Annalen der Physik publishes Albert Einstein's paper "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?", introducing the equation E=mc².

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1910-12-10 Dutch Physicist Johannes van der Waals wins the Nobel Prize for physics

Physicist/Nobel Laureate Johannes van der Waals
Physicist/Nobel Laureate
Johannes van der Waals

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1912-12-10 Nobel Prize for Physics awarded to Gustaf Dalén for inventing automatic regulators for gas accumulators for lighthouses and buoys

Industrialist and Inventor Gustaf Dalén
Industrialist and Inventor
Gustaf Dalén
  • 1913-12-10 Dutch scientist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes receives Nobel prize for physics
  • 1922-12-10 Nobel prizes awarded to Niels Bohr (Physics), Francis William Aston (Chemistry) and Fridtjof Nansen (Peace)

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1922-12-10 Danish physicist Niels Bohr awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics, for work on the structure of atoms, at a ceremony in Copehagen

Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Niels Bohr
Nobel Prize Winning Physicist
Niels Bohr
  • 1930-12-10 Indian Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman is presented with the Nobel Prize for Physics for work on light scattering - first Asian and non-white to win a Science Nobel

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1933-12-10 Nobel Prize for Physics is presented to Paul Dirac and Erwin Schrödinger "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory"

Theoretical Physicist and Nobel Laureate Paul Dirac
Theoretical Physicist and Nobel Laureate
Paul Dirac
Physicist and Nobel Laureate Erwin Schrödinger
Physicist and Nobel Laureate
Erwin Schrödinger

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1935-12-10 James Chadwick is awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his discovery of the neutron

Physicist James Chadwick
Physicist
James Chadwick
  • 1937-11-11 Nobel prize for physics awarded to C J Davisson & GP Thomson

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1938-12-10 Italian scientist Enrico Fermi receives the Nobel Prize for Physics (work on reduced radioactivity)

Father of the Atomic Bomb Enrico Fermi
Father of the Atomic Bomb
Enrico Fermi
  • 1939-11-09 Nobel for physics awarded to Ernest O Lawrence (cyclotron)
  • 1945-05-03 Allies arrest German physicist Werner Heisenberg

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1950-12-11 British Physicist Cecil Frank Powell awarded Nobel Prize in Physics for his study of nuclear processes and the discovery of the pion

Physicist and Nobel Laureate Cecil Frank Powell
Physicist and Nobel Laureate
Cecil Frank Powell
  • 1951-03-25 E Purcell & EM Ewen detect 21-cm radiation at Harvard physics lab
  • 1953-11-05 Nobel prize for physics awarded to Frederik Zernicke
  • 1954-11-03 Nobel for physics awarded to Max Born & Walter Bothe

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1956-11-01 Nobel for physics awarded to William Shockley, Walter H. Brattain and John Bardeen

Physicist Walter Houser Brattain
Physicist
Walter Houser Brattain
Physicist William Shockley
Physicist
William Shockley
Physicist and Electrical Engineer John Bardeen
Physicist and Electrical Engineer
John Bardeen

Book releaseHistoric Publication

1959-12-11 Emilio G. Segrè publishes his discovery of the antiproton, a sub-atomic antiparticle for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1959

Physicist and Nobel Laureate Emilio G. Segrè
Physicist and Nobel Laureate
Emilio G. Segrè
  • 1960-07-20 The head of the Physics Department at the Israel Institute of Technology, Kurt Sitte, is arrested for espionage

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1961-12-10 Robert Hofstadter and Rudolf Ludwig Mössbauer win the Nobel Prize in Physics for their pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleon

  • 1967-10-18 Nobel prize for physics awarded to Hans A Bethe
  • 1968-10-30 Nobel prize for physics awarded to Luis Alvarez (bubble chamber)

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1976-12-10 Samuel C. C. Ting is the first person to deliver a Nobel Prize lecture in Mandarin, during the ceremony to award him and Burton Richter the Nobel Prize for Physics for discovering the J/ψ particle

Physicist and Nobel Laureate Samuel C. C. Ting
Physicist and Nobel Laureate
Samuel C. C. Ting

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1981-10-19 Nicolaas Bloembergen and Arthur Schawlow win Nobel Prize for Physics (laser)

  • 1988-10-19 3 Americans win Nobel in physics; 3 W Germans win chemistry Nobel
  • 1991-11-01 Three faculty, and one staff member of the department of physics and astronomy, were killed, along with one administrator, when physics graduate student Gang Lu went on a shooting rampage at the University of Iowa.
  • 1993-10-13 Nobel prize for physics awarded to Russel Hulse & Joseph Taylor
  • 2004-02-13 The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics discovers the universe's largest known diamond, white dwarf star BPM 37093.
  • 2012-10-09 Serge Haroche and David Wineland win the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics for work on quantum optics

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2012-12-11 British physicist, Stephen Hawking, wins the $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize, the most lucrative academic prize in the world

Physicist Stephen Hawking
Physicist
Stephen Hawking
  • 2013-10-08 Peter Higgs and François Englert win the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on the origin of the mass of subatomic particles
  • 2014-10-07 Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura win the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics for inventing blue light emitting diodes
  • 2015-10-06 Nobel prize for Physics awarded to Takaaki Kajita (Japan) and Arthur McDonald (Canada) for work on neutrinos
  • 2017-10-03 Nobel Prize for Physics awarded to Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne "for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves"
  • 2018-07-26 Observation of a black hole by The Very Large Telescope in Chile proves Albert Einstein's prediction of "gravitational redshift", published in "Journal Astronomy & Astrophysics"
  • 2018-10-02 Nobel prize in Physics awarded to Arthur Ashkin (optical tweezers), Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland ( both for laser beams)
  • 2019-03-25 Teacher of the Year awarded to rural Kenyan math and physics teacher and Franciscan brother Peter Tabichi in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • 2019-10-08 Noble Prize for Physics awarded to James Peebles (work on evolution of the universe), and Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz (discovery of planet 51 Pegasi b, orbiting another star)

Famous Birthdays

  • 1858-04-23 Max Planck, German physicist, father of Quantum Physics (Planck Constant, Nobel 1918), born in Kiel, Duchy of Holstein (d. 1947)
  • 1862-03-04 Robert Emden, Swiss geo/astro physics (Emden-polytroop)

Person of interestGustaf Dalén

1869-11-30 [Nils] Gustaf Dalén, Swedish physicist and industrialist (AGA, Nobel Prize in Physics 1912), born in Stenstorp, Sweden (d. 1937)

Industrialist and Inventor Gustaf Dalén
Industrialist and Inventor
Gustaf Dalén

Person of interestErnest Rutherford

1871-08-30 Ernest Rutherford [1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson], New Zealand physicist and father of nuclear physics (Nobel 1908), born in Brightwater, New Zealand (d. 1937)

  • 1872-05-28 Marian Smoluchowski, Polish physicist (pioneer of statistical physics), born in Vorder-Brühl, Austria-Hungary (d. 1917)
  • 1877-06-07 Charles Glover Barkla, English physicist (1917 Nobel Prize for Physics for X-ray scattering), born in Widnes, England (d. 1944)
  • 1879-02-06 Carl Ramsauer, German physicist (Ramsauer-Townsend effect), born in Oldenburg, Germany (d. 1879)
  • 1882-04-21 Percy Williams Bridgman, American physicist (Nobel 1946 - physics of high pressure), born in Cambridge, Massachusetts (d. 1961)
  • 1882-10-05 Giorgio Abetti, Italian astronomer (Solar physics), born in Padua, Italy (d. 1982)

Person of interestNiels Bohr

1885-10-07 Niels Bohr, Danish physicist who expanded quantum physics (Nobel Prize 1922), born in Copenhagen, Denmark (d. 1962)

Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Niels Bohr
Nobel Prize Winning Physicist
Niels Bohr
  • 1887-04-05 Hedwig Kohn, Jewish physics pioneer, born in Breslau, Province of Silesia (Poland) (d. 1964)
  • 1890-12-06 Yoshio Nishina, Japanese physicist (known as the founding father of modern physics research in Japan), born in Satoshō, Okayama (d. 1951)
  • 1894-07-17 Georges Lemaître, Belgian Catholic Priest, astronomer and physics professor, who initially proposed the universe expansion and big-bang theories, born in Charleroi, Belgium (d. 1966)

Person of interestCarl David Anderson

1905-09-03 Carl David Anderson, American physicist (1936 Nobel Prize for physics), born in NYC, New York (d. 1991)

Nobel Laureat Physicist Carl David Anderson
Nobel Laureat Physicist
Carl David Anderson
  • 1905-09-30 Nevill Francis Mott, English physicist (Nobel Prize for Physics 1977 for work on amorphous semiconductors), born in Leeds, England (d. 1996)

Person of interestArthur Leonard Schawlow

1921-05-05 Arthur Leonard Schawlow, American physicist, shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering work with lasers, born in Mount Vernon, New York (d. 1999)

  • 1922-09-02 Arthur Ashkin, American scientist (Nobel Prize for Physics 2018 Optical Tweezers), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • 1924-08-01 Georges Charpak, Polish-French physicist who invented and developed subatomic particle detectors (Nobel 1992), born in Paris, France (d. 2010)
  • 1925-11-24 Simon van der Meer, Dutch physicist who won the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physics with Carlo Rubbia, born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 2011)
  • 1928-02-01 Sir Samuel "Sam" Edwards, Welsh physicist (condensed matter physics), born in Swansea, Wales (d. 2015)
  • 1930-03-15 Zhores Alferov, Soviet-Russian physicist (2000 Nobel Prize in Physics), born in Vitebsk, Soviet Union (d. 2019)
  • 1931-09-29 James Cronin, nuclear physicist (Physics Nobel Prize 1980), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2016)
  • 1931-10-06 Riccardo Giacconi, Italian American astrophysicist, Nobel Prize for Physics 2002 for X-ray astronomy, born in Genoa, Italy (d. 2018)
  • 1935-04-25 James Peebles, Canadian American astrophysicist (Ostriker–Peebles criterion), 2019 Nobel Prize for Physics, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • 1942-01-12 Michael Mayor, Swiss astrophysicist (discovered 1st exoplanet), 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics, born in Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 1944-06-22 Gérard Mourou, French scientist (Nobel Prize for Physics 2018, lasers), born in Albertville, France
  • 1961-11-10 Rudolf Grimm, Austrian physics professor ( Bose–Einstein condensation of molecules), born in Mannheim, West Germany
  • 1966-02-23 Didier Queloz, Swiss astronomer (discovered 1st exoplanet), 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics, born in Switzerland

Famous Deaths

  • 1917-09-05 Marian Smoluchowski, Polish physicist (pioneer of statistical physics), dies at 45

Person of interestGustaf Dalén

1937-12-09 [Nils] Gustaf Dalén, Swedish physicist and industrialist (AGA, Nobel Prize in Physics 1912), dies at 68

Industrialist and Inventor Gustaf Dalén
Industrialist and Inventor
Gustaf Dalén
  • 1940-10-08 Robert Emden, Swiss geo/astro physics (Gaskugeln), dies at 78
  • 1944-10-23 Charles Glover Barkla, English physicist (1917 Nobel Prize for Physics for X-ray scattering), dies at 67
  • 1947-10-04 Max Planck, German physicist, father of Quantum Physics (Planck Constant, Nobel 1918), dies at 89
  • 1951-01-10 Yoshio Nishina, Japanese physicist (known as the founding father of modern physics research in Japan), dies at 60
  • 1961-08-20 Percy Williams Bridgman, American physicist (Nobel 1946 - physics of high pressure), dies at 79

Person of interestNiels Bohr

1962-11-18 Niels Bohr, Danish physicist who expanded quantum physics (Nobel Prize 1922), dies at 77

Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Niels Bohr
Nobel Prize Winning Physicist
Niels Bohr
  • 1964-03-26 Hedwig Kohn, Prussian-born Jewish physics pioneer, dies at 77

Person of interestLeó Szilárd

1964-05-30 Leo Szilard, Hungarian-German-American nuclear physicist (Manhattan Project) and peace activist, dies at 66

Physicist and Inventor Leó Szilárd
Physicist and Inventor
Leó Szilárd
  • 1966-06-20 Georges Lemaître, Belgian Catholic Priest, astronomer and physics professor, who initially proposed the universe expansion and big-bang theories, dies at 71
  • 1968-10-27 Lise Meitner, Austrian-Swedish physicist (discovered the nuclear fission of uranium, dies at 89
  • 1982-08-24 Giorgio Abetti, Italian astronomer (Solar physics), dies at 99
  • 1984-10-14 Martin Ryle, English radio astronomer, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics (b. 1918)
  • 1995-01-01 Eugene Wigner, Hungarian-American physicist (Nobel prize for physics-1963), dies at 92
  • 1996-08-08 Nevill Francis Mott, British physicist (1977 Nobel Prize for Physics for work on amorphous semiconductors), dies at 90

Person of interestArthur Leonard Schawlow

1999-04-28 Arthur Leonard Schawlow, American physicist who shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering work with lasers, dies of leukemia at 77

  • 2002-01-08 Alexander Prochorow, Nobel Prize in Physics laureate (b. 1916)
  • 2011-03-04 Simon van der Meer, Dutch physicist who won the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physics with Carlo Rubbia, dies at 85
  • 2015-05-07 Sir Samuel "Sam" Edwards, Welsh physicist (condensed matter physics), dies at 87
  • 2016-08-25 James Cronin, American nuclear physicist (Physics Nobel Prize 1980), dies at 84
  • 2018-12-09 Riccardo Giacconi, Italian American astrophysicist, Nobel Prize for Physics 2002 for X-ray astronomy, dies at 87
  • 2019-03-01 Zhores Alferov, Soviet/ Russian physicist (2000 Nobel Prize in Physics), dies at 88