Science Birthdays, January 31

1/31/1868        Richards Theodore      chemist            His father was a painter and his mother a poet, in addition he was interested in music and science. He worked on determining with the greatest possible accuracy the atomic weights of elements. He advanced the theory of isotopes with his studies on lead. He worked with Meyer, Ostwald and Nernst. He died in 1928 at age 60.

1/31/1881        Langmuir Irving          chemist            worked under Nerst at Gottingen, discovered the use of inert gases to extend the life of a light bulb. He discovered an atomic hydrogen blowtorch that could reach temperatures of 6000 degrees. He invented high-vacuum tubes, he devised a theory of catalysis on platinum wires, he also worked on “rain making.” He died in 1957 at age 76.

1/31/1929        Mossbauer Rudolf      physicist          in 1958 he announced the Mossbauer effect. Atoms recoil as they emit gamma rays, the energy of the gamma ray depends in part on the amount of recoil. This is why gamma rays are emitted with a considerable spread in energy and wavelength. If a crystal takes up the recoil since it is so massive, it confines the wavelength to a very narrow spread. This is the Mossbauer effect.  He died in 2011 at age 82.

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