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  ARTICLE : CULTURE
MONDAY, 22 IYYAR, 5779





 

 

 

 

 











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Jewish Contributions : Physics
By Barry Leibovitz - June 22, 2009


Albert Michelson
As in many other scientific areas of interest Jews have made enormous contributions to the science of physics. These included contributions to the theory of superconductors, quantum models of the atom and quantum mechanics and electrodynamics as well as pioneer efforts in a number of fields like atomic science and radiation. Some practical aspects of this research included the creation of methods to reproduce colours photographically, the ability to condense volatile gases like liquid helium that has been used in a number of commercial applications and the development of laser therapy for medicinal and treatment applications.

Throughout the years many, many Jewish scientist have been rewarded and recognized by their peers and professional societies for their work in this area and in the ultimate realm of both public and professional achievement, the Nobel Prize, the success of Jews has been nothing short of outstanding. For a population that is reflective one about one quarter of one percent of the total human population, Jews have been awarded over 25 percent of all Nobel Prizes awarded in Physics since the creation of these awards in 1901.

Two early and notable Jewish physicists were Albert Michelson and Gabriell Lippman. Albert Abraham Michelson was a child of the pogroms in Poland who fled with family to the United States in the middle of the 19th century and who became the first Jewish winner of a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1907. After school and training he went to work for the United States Navy and helped them develop an accurate rangefinder and later invented the echelon spectroscope. He won his Nobel Prize for a body of work that included the development of “optical precision instruments and the spectroscopic and meteorological investigations carried out with their aid." Gabriell Lippman was a French Jewish physicist who was Marie Curie’s thesis adviser and wrote a textbook on thermodynamics was the standard reference in France at the time.
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