Prince Louis-Victor de Broglie-- It is a matter of Waves!!!

13 Mar 2009, Comments: | Views: 3570 | | Category: Science Legends

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Thinking out of box, may be it is the key of a discovery. Prince Louis-Victor de Broglie was instrumental at it. His concept of matter waves sounds so simple but it led to a new way of thinking in Quantum Mechanics. A revolution which later opened new vistas in the world of physics.

In 1924 at the Faculty of Sciences at Paris University he delivered a thesis Recherches sur la Théorie des Quanta (Researches on the quantum theory), which gained him his doctor's degree. This thesis contained a series of important findings which he had obtained in the course of about two years. The ideas set out in that work, which first gave rise to astonishment owing to their novelty, were subsequently fully confirmed by the discovery of electron diffraction by crystals in 1927 by Davisson and Germer; they served as the basis for developing the general theory nowadays known by the name of wave mechanics, a theory which has utterly transformed our knowledge of physical phenomena on the atomic scale.

Life in Brief

Prince Louis-Victor de Broglie of the French Academy, Permanent Secretary of the Academy of Sciences, and Professor at the Faculty of Sciences at Paris University, was born at Dieppe (Seine Inférieure) on 15th August, 1892, the son of Victor, Duc de Broglie and Pauline d'Armaillé. After studying at the Lycée Janson of Sailly, he passed his school-leaving certificate in 1909. He applied himself first to literary studies and took his degree in history in 1910. Then, as his liking for science prevailed, he studied for a science degree, which he gained in 1913. He was then conscripted for military service and posted to the wireless section of the army, where he remained for the whole of the war of 1914-1918. During this period he was stationed at the Eiffel Tower, where he devoted his spare time to the study of technical problems. At the end of the war Louis de Broglie resumed his studies of general physics. While taking an interest in the experimental work carried out by his elder brother, Maurice, and co-workers, he specialized in theoretical physics and, in particular, in the study of problems involving quanta.

After crowning Louis de Broglie's work on two occasions, the Academie des Sciences awarded him in 1929 the Henri Poincaré medal (awarded for the first time), then in 1932, the Albert I of Monaco prize. In 1929 the Swedish Academy of Sciences conferred on him the Nobel Prize for Physics "for his discovery of the wave nature of electrons". In 1952 the first Kalinga Prize was awarded to him by UNESCO for his efforts to explain aspects of modern physics to the layman. In 1956 he received the gold medal of the French National Scientific Research Centre. He has made major contributions to the fostering of international scientific co-operation

His Works

  • Recherches sur la théorie des quanta (Researches on the quantum theory), Thesis Paris, 1924.
  • Ondes et mouvements (Waves and motions), Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1926.
  • Rapport au 5e Conseil de Physique Solvay, Brussels, 1927.
  • La mécanique ondulatoire (Wave mechanics), Gauthier-Villars, Paris, 1928.
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