The Info List - Robert A. Millikan

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Robert Andrews Millikan
Robert Andrews Millikan
(March 22, 1868 – December 19, 1953) was an American experimental physicist honored with the Nobel Prize for Physics
in 1923 for the measurement of the elementary electronic charge and for his work on the photoelectric effect. Millikan graduated from Oberlin College
Oberlin College
in 1891 and obtained his doctorate at Columbia University
Columbia University
in 1895. In 1896 he became an assistant at the University of Chicago, where he became a full professor in 1910. In 1909 Millikan began a series of experiments to determine the electric charge carried by a single electron. He began by measuring the course of charged water droplets in an electric field. The results suggested that the charge on the droplets is a multiple of the elementary electric charge, but the experiment was not accurate enough to be convincing. He obtained more precise results in 1910 with his famous oil-drop experiment in which he replaced water (which tended to evaporate too quickly) with oil. In 1914 Millikan took up with similar skill the experimental verification of the equation introduced by Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
in 1905 to describe the photoelectric effect. He used this same research to obtain an accurate value of Planck’s constant. In 1921 Millikan left the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
to become director of the Norman Bridge Laboratory of Physics
at the California
Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California. There he undertook a major study of the radiation that the physicist Victor Hess
Victor Hess
had detected coming from outer space. Millikan proved that this radiation is indeed of extraterrestrial origin, and he named it "cosmic rays." As chairman of the Executive Council of Caltech
(the school's governing body at the time) from 1921 until his retirement in 1945, Millikan helped to turn the school into one of the leading research institutions in the United States. He also served on the board of trustees for Science Service, now known as Society for Science & the Public, from 1921 to 1953.


1 Biography

1.1 Education 1.2 Charge of the electron

1.2.1 Data selection controversy

1.3 Photoelectric effect 1.4 Later life 1.5 Westinghouse time capsule 1.6 Death and legacy

2 Famous statements 3 Bibliography 4 See also 5 References

5.1 Notes 5.2 Other sources

6 External links

Biography[edit] Education[edit] Robert Andrews Millikan
Robert Andrews Millikan
was born on March 22, 1868, in Morrison, Illinois.[4] Millikan went to high school in Maquoketa, Iowa. Millikan received a bachelor's degree in the classics from Oberlin College
Oberlin College
in 1891 and his doctorate in physics from Columbia University
Columbia University
in 1895 – he was the first to earn a Ph.D. from that department.[5]

At the close of my sophomore year [...] my Greek professor [...] asked me to teach the course in elementary physics in the preparatory department during the next year. To my reply that I did not know any physics at all, his answer was, "Anyone who can do well in my Greek can teach physics." "All right," said I, "you will have to take the consequences, but I will try and see what I can do with it." I at once purchased an Avery's Elements of Physics, and spent the greater part of my summer vacation of 1889 at home – trying to master the subject. [...] I doubt if I have ever taught better in my life than in my first course in physics in 1889. I was so intensely interested in keeping my knowledge ahead of that of the class that they may have caught some of my own interest and enthusiasm.[6]

Millikan's enthusiasm for education continued throughout his career, and he was the coauthor of a popular and influential series of introductory textbooks,[7] which were ahead of their time in many ways. Compared to other books of the time, they treated the subject more in the way in which it was thought about by physicists. They also included many homework problems that asked conceptual questions, rather than simply requiring the student to plug numbers into a formula. In 1902 he married Greta Ervin Blanchard (1876-1955). They had three sons: Clark Blanchard, Glenn Allan, and Max Franklin. Charge of the electron[edit]

Millikan’s original oil-drop apparatus, circa 1909–1910

Main article: Oil
drop experiment Starting in 1908, while a professor at the University of Chicago, Millikan worked on an oil-drop experiment in which he measured the charge on a single electron. J. J. Thomson
J. J. Thomson
had already discovered the charge-to-mass ratio of the electron. However, the actual charge and mass values were unknown. Therefore, if one of these two values were to be discovered, the other could easily be calculated. Millikan and his then graduate student Harvey Fletcher
Harvey Fletcher
used the oil-drop experiment to measure the charge of the electron (as well as the electron mass, and Avogadro's number, since their relation to the electron charge was known). Professor
Millikan took sole credit, in return for Harvey Fletcher claiming full authorship on a related result for his dissertation.[8] Millikan went on to win the 1923 Nobel Prize for Physics, in part for this work, and Fletcher kept the agreement a secret until his death.[9] After a publication on his first results in 1910,[10] contradictory observations by Felix Ehrenhaft started a controversy between the two physicists.[11] After improving his setup, Millikan published his seminal study in 1913.[12] The elementary charge is one of the fundamental physical constants, and accurate knowledge of its value is of great importance. His experiment measured the force on tiny charged droplets of oil suspended against gravity between two metal electrodes. Knowing the electric field, the charge on the droplet could be determined. Repeating the experiment for many droplets, Millikan showed that the results could be explained as integer multiples of a common value (1.592 × 10−19 coulomb), which is the charge of a single electron. That this is somewhat lower than the modern value of 1.602 176 53(14) x 10−19 coulomb is probably due to Millikan's use of an inaccurate value for the viscosity of air.[13][14] Although at the time of Millikan's oil-drop experiments it was becoming clear that there exist such things as subatomic particles, not everyone was convinced. Experimenting with cathode rays in 1897, J. J. Thomson
J. J. Thomson
had discovered negatively charged 'corpuscles', as he called them, with a charge-to-mass ratio 1840 times that of a hydrogen ion. Similar results had been found by George FitzGerald
George FitzGerald
and Walter Kaufmann. Most of what was then known about electricity and magnetism, however, could be explained on the basis that charge is a continuous variable; in much the same way that many of the properties of light can be explained by treating it as a continuous wave rather than as a stream of photons. The beauty of the oil-drop experiment is that as well as allowing quite accurate determination of the fundamental unit of charge, Millikan's apparatus also provided a 'hands on' demonstration that charge is actually quantized. The General Electric Company's Charles Steinmetz, who had previously thought that charge is a continuous variable, became convinced otherwise after working with Millikan's apparatus. Data selection controversy[edit] There is some controversy over selectivity in Millikan's use of results from his second experiment measuring the electron charge. This issue has been discussed by Allan Franklin,[15] a former high-energy experimentalist and current philosopher of science at the University of Colorado. Franklin contends that Millikan's exclusions of data do not affect the final value of the charge obtained, but that Millikan's substantial "cosmetic surgery" reduced the statistical error. This enabled Millikan to give the charge of the electron to better than one half of one percent; in fact, if Millikan had included all of the data he discarded, the error would have been within 2%. While this would still have resulted in Millikan's having measured the charge of e− better than anyone else at the time, the slightly larger uncertainty might have allowed more disagreement with his results within the physics community, which Millikan likely tried to avoid. David Goodstein argues that Millikan's statement, that all drops observed over a sixty-day period were used in the paper, was clarified in a subsequent sentence which specified all "drops upon which complete series of observations were made". Goodstein attests that this is indeed the case and notes that five pages of tables separate the two sentences.[16] Photoelectric effect[edit]

Robert A. Millikan around 1923

When Einstein published his seminal 1905 paper on the particle theory of light, Millikan was convinced that it had to be wrong, because of the vast body of evidence that had already shown that light was a wave. He undertook a decade-long experimental program to test Einstein's theory, which required building what he described as "a machine shop in vacuo" in order to prepare the very clean metal surface of the photo electrode. His results published in 1914 confirmed Einstein's predictions in every detail,[17] but Millikan was not convinced of Einstein's interpretation, and as late as 1916 he wrote, "Einstein's photoelectric equation... cannot in my judgment be looked upon at present as resting upon any sort of a satisfactory theoretical foundation," even though "it actually represents very accurately the behavior" of the photoelectric effect. In his 1950 autobiography, however, he simply declared that his work "scarcely permits of any other interpretation than that which Einstein had originally suggested, namely that of the semi-corpuscular or photon theory of light itself".[18] Since Millikan's work formed some of the basis for modern particle physics, it is ironic that he was rather conservative in his opinions about 20th century developments in physics, as in the case of the photon theory. Another example is that his textbook, as late as the 1927 version, unambiguously states the existence of the ether, and mentions Einstein's theory of relativity only in a noncommittal note at the end of the caption under Einstein's portrait, stating as the last in a list of accomplishments that he was "author of the special theory of relativity in 1905 and of the general theory of relativity in 1914, both of which have had great success in explaining otherwise unexplained phenomena and in predicting new ones." Millikan is also credited with measuring the value of Planck's constant by using photoelectric emission graphs of various metals.[19] Later life[edit] In 1917, solar astronomer George Ellery Hale
George Ellery Hale
convinced Millikan to begin spending several months each year at the Throop College of Technology, a small academic institution in Pasadena, California, that Hale wished to transform into a major center for scientific research and education. A few years later Throop College became the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and Millikan left the University of Chicago in order to become Caltech's "chairman of the executive council" (effectively its president). Millikan would serve in that position from 1921 to 1945. At Caltech
most of his scientific research focused on the study of "cosmic rays" (a term which he coined). In the 1930s he entered into a debate with Arthur Compton
Arthur Compton
over whether cosmic rays were composed of high-energy photons (Millikan's view) or charged particles (Compton's view). Millikan thought his cosmic ray photons were the "birth cries" of new atoms continually being created to counteract entropy and prevent the heat death of the universe. Compton would eventually be proven right by the observation that cosmic rays are deflected by the Earth's magnetic field (and so must be charged particles). Robert Millikan was Vice Chairman of the National Research Council during World War I. During that time, he helped to develop anti-submarine and meteorological devices. He received the Chinese Order of Jade. In his private life, Millikan was an enthusiastic tennis player. He was married and had three sons, the eldest of whom, Clark B. Millikan, became a prominent aerodynamic engineer. Another son, Glenn, also a physicist, married the daughter (Clare) of George Leigh Mallory of "Because it's there" Mount Everest
Mount Everest
fame. Glenn was killed in a climbing accident in Cumberland Mountains
Cumberland Mountains
in 1947.[20] A religious man and the son of a minister, in his later life Millikan argued strongly for a complementary relationship between Christian faith and science.[21][22][23][24] He dealt with this in his Terry Lectures at Yale
in 1926–27, published as Evolution in Science and Religion.[25] A more controversial belief of his was eugenics. This led to his association with the Human Betterment Foundation
Human Betterment Foundation
and his praising of San Marino, California, for being "the westernmost outpost of Nordic civilization ... [with] a population which is twice as Anglo-Saxon as that existing in New York, Chicago, or any of the great cities of this country."[26] Westinghouse time capsule[edit] In 1938, he wrote a short passage to be placed in the Westinghouse Time Capsules.[27]

At this moment, August 22, 1938, the principles of representative ballot government, such as are represented by the governments of the Anglo-Saxon, French, and Scandinavian countries, are in deadly conflict with the principles of despotism, which up to two centuries ago had controlled the destiny of man throughout practically the whole of recorded history. If the rational, scientific, progressive principles win out in this struggle there is a possibility of a warless, golden age ahead for mankind. If the reactionary principles of despotism triumph now and in the future, the future history of mankind will repeat the sad story of war and oppression as in the past.

Death and legacy[edit]

The Millikan Library and Millikan Pond at Caltech

Millikan died of a heart attack at his home in San Marino, California in 1953 at age 85, and was interred in the "Court of Honor" at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. Millikan Middle School (formerly Millikan Junior High School) in the suburban Los Angeles neighborhood of Sherman Oaks is named in his honor, as is Robert A. Millikan High School in Long Beach, California. The Millikan Library, the tallest building on the Caltech
campus is also named after him. Additionally, a major street through the Tektronix
campus in Portland, Oregon, is named after him, with the Millikan Way (MAX station), a station on Portland, Oregon's MAX Blue Line named after the street. One of four suites at the Athenaeum Hotel on the Caltech
campus is named after him; Room #50, The Millikan Suite. On January 26, 1982, he was honored by the United States
United States
Postal Service with a 37¢ Great Americans series
Great Americans series
(1980–2000) postage stamp. Famous statements[edit] "If Kevin Harding's equation and Aston's curve are even roughly correct, as I'm sure they are, for Dr. Cameron and I have computed with their aid the maximum energy evolved in radioactive change and found it to check well with observation, then this supposition of an energy evolution through the disintegration of the common elements is from the one point of view a childish Utopian dream, and from the other a foolish bugaboo."[28] Bibliography[edit]

Goodstein, D., "In defense of Robert Andrews Millikan", Engineering and Science, 2000. No 4, pp30–38 (pdf). Millikan, R A (1950). The Autobiography of Robert Millikan Millikan, Robert Andrews (1917). The Electron: Its Isolation and Measurements and the Determination of Some of its Properties. The University of Chicago
University of Chicago
Press. Nobel Lectures, "Robert A. Millikan – Nobel Biography". Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam. Segerstråle, U (1995) Good to the last drop? Millikan stories as "canned" pedagogy, Science and Engineering Ethics vol 1, pp197–214 Robert Andrews Millikan
Robert Andrews Millikan
"Robert A. Millikan – Nobel Biography". The NIST Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty Kevles, Daniel A (1979). "Robert A. Millikan". Scientific American. 240 (1): 142–151. Bibcode:1979SciAm.240a.142K. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0179-142.  Kargon, Robert H (1977). "The Conservative Mode: Robert A. Millikan and the Twentieth-Century Revolution in Physics". Isis. 68 (4): 509–526. doi:10.1086/351871. JSTOR 230006.  Kargon, Robert H (1982). The rise of Robert Millikan: portrait of a life in American science. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

See also[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robert Andrews Millikan.

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Robert Andrews Millikan

Nobel Prize controversies

Robert Millikan is widely believed to have been denied the 1920 prize for physics owing to Felix Ehrenhaft's claims to have measured charges smaller than Millikan's elementary charge. Ehrenhaft's claims were ultimately dismissed and Millikan was awarded the prize in 1923.

Millikan's passage announcing emerging branch of physics under the designation of quantum theory, published in Popular Science
Popular Science
January 1927.

References[edit] Notes[edit]

^ "Comstock Prize in Physics". National Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved February 13, 2011.  ^ "Millikan, son, aide get medals of merit". New York Times. March 22, 1949. Retrieved October 27, 2014. [permanent dead link] ^ Bates, Charles C. & Fuller, John F. (July 1, 1986). "Chapter 2: The Rebirth of Military Meteorology". America's Weather Warriors, 1814–1985. Texas A&M University Press. pp. 17–20. ISBN 978-0890962404.  ^ Millikan, Robert. " Nobel Prize in Physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
1923". nobel.org. Retrieved September 20, 2012.  ^ "Robert A. Millikan". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Retrieved July 25, 2011.  ^ Millikan, Robert Andrews (1980) [reprint of original 1950 edition]. The autobiography of Robert A. Millikan. Prentice-Hall. p. 14.  ^ The books, coauthored with Henry Gordon Gale, were A First Course in Physics
(1906), Practical Physics
(1920), Elements of Physics
(1927), and New Elementary Physics
(1936). ^ David Goodstein
David Goodstein
(January 2001). "In defense of Robert Andrews Millikan" (PDF). American Scientist: 54–60.  ^ Harvey Fletcher
Harvey Fletcher
(June 1982). "My Work with Millikan on the Oil-drop Experiment". Physics
Today. 35: 43. Bibcode:1982PhT....35f..43F. doi:10.1063/1.2915126.  ^ Millikan, R.A. (1910). "A new modification of the cloud method of determining the elementary electrical charge and the most probable value of that charge". Phil. Mag. 6. 19: 209. doi:10.1080/14786440208636795.  ^ Ehrenhaft, F (1910). "Über die Kleinsten Messbaren Elektrizitätsmengen". Phys. Z. 10: 308.  ^ Millikan, R.A. (1913). "On the Elementary Electric charge
Electric charge
and the Avogadro Constant". Physical Review. II. 2: 109–143. Bibcode:1913PhRv....2..109M. doi:10.1103/physrev.2.109.  ^ Feynman, Richard, "Cargo Cult Science" (adapted from 1974 California Institute of Technology commencement address), Donald Simanek's Pages, Lock Haven University, rev. August 2008. ^ Feynman, Richard Phillips; Leighton, Ralph; Hutchings, Edward (1997-04-01). "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!": adventures of a curious character. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 342. ISBN 978-0-393-31604-9. Retrieved 10 July 2010.  ^ Franklin, A. (1997). "Millikan's Oil-Drop Experiments". The Chemical Educator. 2 (1): 1–14. doi:10.1007/s00897970102a.  ^ Goodstein, David (2000). "In defense of Robert Andrews Millikan" (PDF). Engineering and Science. Pasadena, California: California Institute of Technology. Archived from the original (Portable Document Format) on 2010-06-25. Retrieved August 2010.  Check date values in: access-date= (help) ^ Millikan, R. (1914). "A Direct Determination of "h."". Physical Review. 4 (1): 73–75. Bibcode:1914PhRv....4R..73M. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.4.73.2.  ^ Anton Z. Capri, "Quips, quotes, and quanta: an anecdotal history of physics" (World Scientific 2007) p.96 ^ Millikan, R. (1916). "A Direct Photoelectric Determination of Planck's "h"" (PDF). Physical Review. 7 (3): 355–388. Bibcode:1916PhRv....7..355M. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.7.355.  ^ Severinghaus, John W.; Astrup, Poul B. (1986). "History of blood gas analysis. VI. Oximetry". Journal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing. 2 (4): 270–288 (278). doi:10.1007/BF02851177.  ^ "Millikan, Robert Andrew", Who's Who in America v. 15, 1928–1929, p. 1486 ^ The Religious Affiliation of Physicist Robert Andrews Millikan. adherents.com ^ Nobel biography. nobelprize.org. ^ "Medicine: Science Serves God," Time, June 4, 1923. Accessed 19 January 2013. ^ Evolution in Science and Religion (1927), 1973 edition: Kennikat Press, ISBN 0-8046-1702-3 ^ "Judgment At Pasadena", Washington Post, March 16, 2000, p. C1. Retrieved on March 30, 2007. ^ The Time Capsule. Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company. September 23, 1938. p. 46. ^ Milliken, Robert Andrews, Science and the New Civilization [1st Ed.], Charles Scribner's and Sons, 1930, p. 95

Other sources[edit]

Waller, John, "Einstein's Luck: The Truth Behind Some of the Greatest Scientific Discoveries". Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-19-860719-9 Physics
paper On the Elementary Electrical Charge and the Avogadro Constant (extract) http://www.aip.org/history/gap/ Works by Robert Millikan at Project Gutenberg

External links[edit]

Biography on Nobel prize website "Famous Iowans," by Tom Longdon Illustrated Millikan biography at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
(archived May 16, 2006). Retrieved on March 30, 2007. Robert Millikan: Scientist. Part of a series on Notable American Unitarians. Key Participants: Robert Millikan – Linus Pauling and the Nature of the Chemical Bond: A Documentary History Robert Andrews Millikan
Robert Andrews Millikan
— Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences Works by or about Robert Andrews Millikan
Robert Andrews Millikan
at Internet Archive Works by Robert Andrews Millikan
Robert Andrews Millikan
at LibriVox
(public domain audiobooks) Robert Andrews Millikan
Robert Andrews Millikan
at Find a Grave

v t e

ASME Medal


1921: Hjalmar G. Carlson 1922: Frederick A. Halsey 1923: John R. Freeman 1926: Robert Andrews Millikan 1927: Wilfred Lewis 1928: Julian Kennedy 1930: W. L. R. Emmet 1931: Albert Kingsbury 1933: Ambrose Swasey 1934: Willis Carrier 1935: Charles T. Main 1936: Edward Bausch 1937: Edward P. Bullard Jr. 1938: Stephen J. Pigott 1939: James E. Gleason 1940: Charles F. Kettering 1941: Theodore von Karman 1942: Ervin G. Bailey 1943: Lewis K. Sillcox 1944: Edward G. Budd 1945: William F. Durand 1946: Morris E. Leeds 1947: Paul W. Kiefer 1948: Frederick G. Keyes 1949: Fred L. Dornbrook 1950: Harvey C. Knowles


1951: Glenn B. Warren 1952: Nevin E. Funk 1953: Crosby Field 1954: E. Burnley Powell 1955: Granville M. Read 1956: Harry F. Vickers 1957: Llewellyn M. K. Boelter 1958: Wilbur H. Armacost 1959: Martin Frisch 1960: C. Richard Soderberg 1962: Philip Sporn 1963: Igor I. Sikorsky 1964: Alan Howard 1965: Jan Burgers 1967: Mayo D. Hersey 1968: Samuel C. Collins 1969: Lloyd H. Donnell 1970: Robert R. Gilruth 1971: Horace Smart Beattie 1972: Waloddi Weibull 1973: Christopher C. Kraft Jr. 1974: Nicholas J. Hoff 1975: Maxime A. Faget


1976: Raymond D. Mindlin 1977: Robert W. Mann 1979: Jacob P. Den Hartog 1980: Soichiro Honda 1981: Robert S. Hahn 1983: Jack N. Binns Sr. 1984: Aaron Cohen 1985: Milton C. Shaw 1986: Orlan W. Boston 1987: Philip G. Hodge 1988: Eric Reissner 1989: William R. Sears 1990: Harley A. Wilhelm 1992: Daniel C. Drucker 1993: Richard H. Gallagher 1996: Robert C. Dean Jr. 1997: Bernard Budiansky 1998: Frank Kreith 1999: H. Norman Abramson


2000: Arther E. Bergles 2001: Warren M. Rohsenow 2002: Leroy S. Fletcher 2003: Norman R. Augustine 2004: Bradford W. Parkinson 2005: Robert E. Uhrig 2006: Richard J. Goldstein 2007: Dean L. Kamen 2008: Frank E. Talke 2009: Nam Pyo Suh 2010: John Abele 2011: Clayton Daniel Mote Jr. 2012: Jan D. Achenbach 2013: Siavouche Nemat-Nasser 2014: Van C. Mow 2015: James R. Rice 2016: J. N. Reddy

v t e

IEEE Edison Medal


Elihu Thomson
Elihu Thomson
(1909) Frank J. Sprague
Frank J. Sprague
(1910) George Westinghouse
George Westinghouse
(1911) William Stanley, Jr.
William Stanley, Jr.
(1912) Charles F. Brush
Charles F. Brush
(1913) Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell
(1914) Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla
(1916) John J. Carty
John J. Carty
(1917) Benjamin G. Lamme
Benjamin G. Lamme
(1918) William Le Roy Emmet
William Le Roy Emmet
(1919) Mihajlo Pupin
Mihajlo Pupin
(1920) Cummings C. Chesney (1921) Robert A. Millikan (1922) John W. Lieb
John W. Lieb
(1923) John W. Howell (1924) Harris J. Ryan (1925)

Complete roster 1909–1925 1926–1950 1951–1975 1976–2000 2001–present

v t e

Laureates of the Nobel Prize in Physics


1901 Röntgen 1902 Lorentz / Zeeman 1903 Becquerel / P. Curie / M. Curie 1904 Rayleigh 1905 Lenard 1906 J. J. Thomson 1907 Michelson 1908 Lippmann 1909 Marconi / Braun 1910 Van der Waals 1911 Wien 1912 Dalén 1913 Kamerlingh Onnes 1914 Laue 1915 W. L. Bragg / W. H. Bragg 1916 1917 Barkla 1918 Planck 1919 Stark 1920 Guillaume 1921 Einstein 1922 N. Bohr 1923 Millikan 1924 M. Siegbahn 1925 Franck / Hertz


1926 Perrin 1927 Compton / C. Wilson 1928 O. Richardson 1929 De Broglie 1930 Raman 1931 1932 Heisenberg 1933 Schrödinger / Dirac 1934 1935 Chadwick 1936 Hess / C. D. Anderson 1937 Davisson / G. P. Thomson 1938 Fermi 1939 Lawrence 1940 1941 1942 1943 Stern 1944 Rabi 1945 Pauli 1946 Bridgman 1947 Appleton 1948 Blackett 1949 Yukawa 1950 Powell


1951 Cockcroft / Walton 1952 Bloch / Purcell 1953 Zernike 1954 Born / Bothe 1955 Lamb / Kusch 1956 Shockley / Bardeen / Brattain 1957 C. N. Yang / T. D. Lee 1958 Cherenkov / Frank / Tamm 1959 Segrè / Chamberlain 1960 Glaser 1961 Hofstadter / Mössbauer 1962 Landau 1963 Wigner / Goeppert-Mayer / Jensen 1964 Townes / Basov / Prokhorov 1965 Tomonaga / Schwinger / Feynman 1966 Kastler 1967 Bethe 1968 Alvarez 1969 Gell-Mann 1970 Alfvén / Néel 1971 Gabor 1972 Bardeen / Cooper / Schrieffer 1973 Esaki / Giaever / Josephson 1974 Ryle / Hewish 1975 A. Bohr / Mottelson / Rainwater


1976 Richter / Ting 1977 P. W. Anderson / Mott / Van Vleck 1978 Kapitsa / Penzias / R. Wilson 1979 Glashow / Salam / Weinberg 1980 Cronin / Fitch 1981 Bloembergen / Schawlow / K. Siegbahn 1982 K. Wilson 1983 Chandrasekhar / Fowler 1984 Rubbia / Van der Meer 1985 von Klitzing 1986 Ruska / Binnig / Rohrer 1987 Bednorz / Müller 1988 Lederman / Schwartz / Steinberger 1989 Ramsey / Dehmelt / Paul 1990 Friedman / Kendall / R. Taylor 1991 de Gennes 1992 Charpak 1993 Hulse / J. Taylor 1994 Brockhouse / Shull 1995 Perl / Reines 1996 D. Lee / Osheroff / R. Richardson 1997 Chu / Cohen-Tannoudji / Phillips 1998 Laughlin / Störmer / Tsui 1999 't Hooft / Veltman 2000 Alferov / Kroemer / Kilby

2001– present

2001 Cornell / Ketterle / Wieman 2002 Davis / Koshiba / Giacconi 2003 Abrikosov / Ginzburg / Leggett 2004 Gross / Politzer / Wilczek 2005 Glauber / Hall / Hänsch 2006 Mather / Smoot 2007 Fert / Grünberg 2008 Nambu / Kobayashi / Maskawa 2009 Kao / Boyle / Smith 2010 Geim / Novoselov 2011 Perlmutter / Riess / Schmidt 2012 Wineland / Haroche 2013 Englert / Higgs 2014 Akasaki / Amano / Nakamura 2015 Kajita / McDonald 2016 Thouless / Haldane / Kosterlitz 2017 Weiss / Barish / Thorne

v t e

Presidents of the American Physical Society


Henry Augustus Rowland
Henry Augustus Rowland
(1899) Albert A. Michelson
Albert A. Michelson
(1901) Arthur Gordon Webster
Arthur Gordon Webster
(1903) Carl Barus
Carl Barus
(1905) Edward Leamington Nichols
Edward Leamington Nichols
(1907) Henry Crew
Henry Crew
(1909) William Francis Magie
William Francis Magie
(1911) Benjamin Osgood Peirce
Benjamin Osgood Peirce
(1913) Ernest Merritt
Ernest Merritt
(1914) Robert Andrews Millikan
Robert Andrews Millikan
(1916) Henry Andrews Bumstead (1918) Joseph Sweetman Ames
Joseph Sweetman Ames
(1919) Theodore Lyman (1921) Thomas Corwin Mendenhall
Thomas Corwin Mendenhall
(1923) Dayton Miller
Dayton Miller


Karl Taylor Compton (1927) Henry Gale (1929) William Francis Gray Swann (1931) Paul D. Foote (1933) Arthur Compton
Arthur Compton
(1934) Robert W. Wood
Robert W. Wood
(1935) Floyd K. Richtmyer (1936) Harrison M. Randall (1937) Lyman James Briggs
Lyman James Briggs
(1938) John Torrence Tate, Sr. (1939) John Zeleny (1940) George Braxton Pegram (1941) G. Stewart (1941) Percy Williams Bridgman
Percy Williams Bridgman
(1942) Albert Hull
Albert Hull
(1943) Arthur Jeffrey Dempster
Arthur Jeffrey Dempster
(1944) Harvey Fletcher
Harvey Fletcher
(1945) Edward Condon
Edward Condon
(1946) Lee Alvin DuBridge
Lee Alvin DuBridge
(1947) J. Robert Oppenheimer
J. Robert Oppenheimer
(1948) Francis Wheeler Loomis (1949) Isidor Isaac Rabi
Isidor Isaac Rabi


Charles Christian Lauritsen (1951) John Hasbrouck Van Vleck
John Hasbrouck Van Vleck
(1952) Enrico Fermi
Enrico Fermi
(1953) H. Bethe (1954) Raymond Thayer Birge (1955) E. Wigner (1956) Henry DeWolf Smyth
Henry DeWolf Smyth
(1957) Jesse Beams
Jesse Beams
(1958) George Eugene Uhlenbeck
George Eugene Uhlenbeck
(1959) Victor Frederick Weisskopf
Victor Frederick Weisskopf
(1960) Frederick Seitz
Frederick Seitz
(1961) William V. Houston
William V. Houston
(1962) John Harry Williams (1963) Robert Bacher
Robert Bacher
(1964) Felix Bloch
Felix Bloch
(1965) John Archibald Wheeler
John Archibald Wheeler
(1966) Charles H. Townes
Charles H. Townes
(1967) John Bardeen
John Bardeen
(1968) Luis Walter Alvarez
Luis Walter Alvarez
(1969) Edward Mills Purcell
Edward Mills Purcell
(1970) Robert Serber
Robert Serber
(1971) Philip M. Morse (1972) Joseph Edward Mayer (1973) Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky (1974) Chien-Shiung Wu
Chien-Shiung Wu


William A. Fowler (1976) George Pake (1977) Norman Foster Ramsey, Jr.
Norman Foster Ramsey, Jr.
(1978) Lewis M. Branscomb
Lewis M. Branscomb
(1979) Herman Feshbach (1980) Arthur Leonard Schawlow (1981) Maurice Goldhaber
Maurice Goldhaber
(1982) Robert Marshak (1983) Mildred Dresselhaus
Mildred Dresselhaus
(1984) Robert R. Wilson
Robert R. Wilson
(1985) Sidney Drell (1986) Val Logsdon Fitch
Val Logsdon Fitch
(1987) James A. Krumhansl (1989) Eugen Merzbacher (1990) Nicolaas Bloembergen
Nicolaas Bloembergen
(1991) Ernest M. Henley (1992) Donald N. Langenberg (1993) Burton Richter
Burton Richter
(1994) C. Kumar Patel (1995) J.R. Schrieffer (1996) D. Allan Bromley
D. Allan Bromley
(1997) Andrew Sessler
Andrew Sessler
(1998) Jerome I. Friedman
Jerome I. Friedman
(1999) James S. Langer (2000)


George Trilling (2001) William Brinkman (2002) Myriam Sarachik (2003) Helen Quinn
Helen Quinn
(2004) Marvin Cohen (2005) John Hopfield (2006) Leo Kadanoff
Leo Kadanoff
(2007) Arthur Bienenstock (2008) Cherry A. Murray
Cherry A. Murray
(2009) Curtis Callan
Curtis Callan
(2010) Barry Barish
Barry Barish
(2011) Robert L. Byer
Robert L. Byer
(2012) Michael Turner (2013) Malcolm R. Beasley (2014) Sam Aronson (2015) Homer Neal (2016) Laura Greene (2017) Roger Falcone (2018) David Gross
David Gross
(2019) Philip H. Bucksbaum
Philip H. Bucksbaum

v t e

Presidents of the California
Institute of Technology

Early Throop leaders (before Caltech)

Charles Keyes (1891–1896) Walter Edwards (1897–1907) James Scherer (1908–1920)

Presidents of Caltech

Robert Millikan (1921–1946) Lee DuBridge (1946–1969) Harold Brown (1969–1977) Robert Christy # (1977–1978) Marvin Goldberger (1978–1987) Thomas Everhart (1987–1997) David Baltimore
David Baltimore
(1997–2006) Jean-Lou Chameau (2006–2013) Thomas Rosenbaum (2014–present)

# denotes an acting or interim president

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 30867998 LCCN: n81120115 ISNI: 0000 0001 1023 6138 GND: 118784048 SELIBR: 307592 SUDOC: 066887798 BNF: cb12376015w (data) MGP: 72167 NLA: 35353731 NDL: 00524