Stern , Otto

(1888–1969) German–American physicist
Stern, who was born at Sohrau (now in Poland), was educated at the University of Breslau where he obtained his doctorate in 1912. He joined Einstein at the University of Prague and later followed him to Zurich (1913). After teaching at a number of German universities he was appointed an associate professor of theoretical physics at Rostock in 1921. He later moved (1923) to the University of Hamburg as professor of physical chemistry, but resigned in opposition to Hitler in 1933 and emigrated to America, where he took up an appointment with the Carnegie Institute of Technology at Pittsburgh. He retired in 1945.
Stern's main research came from his work with molecular beams of atoms and molecules (beams of atoms traveling in the same direction at low pressure, with no collisions occurring within the beam). Using such beams it is possible to measure directly the speeds of molecules in a gas. In 1920 Stern used a molecular beam of silver atoms to test an important prediction of quantum theory – namely, that certain atoms have magnetic moments (behave like small magnets) and that in a magnetic field these magnets take only certain orientations to the field direction.
The phenomenon is known as space quantization, and it could be predicted theoretically that silver atoms could have only two orientations in an external field. To test this, Stern with Walter Gerlach passed a beam of silver atoms through a nonuniform magnetic field and observed that it split into two separate beams. This, the famous Stern–Gerlach experiment, was a striking piece of evidence for the validity of the quantum theory and Stern received the 1943 Nobel Prize for physics for this work.
Stern used molecular beams for other measurements. Thus he was able to measure the magnetic moment of the proton by this technique. He also succeeded in demonstrating that atoms and molecules had wavelike properties by diffracting them in experiments similar to those of Clinton J. Davisson on the electron.

Scientists. . 2011.

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  • STERN, OTTO — (1888–1969), physicist and Nobel prizewinner. Born in Sorau, Stern worked with einstein in Prague and Zurich. From 1915 to 1921 he lectured in theoretical physics at the universities of Frankfurt and Rostock, and in 1923 was appointed professor… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Stern,Otto — Stern, Otto. 1888 1969. German born American physicist. He won a 1943 Nobel Prize for detecting the magnetic movements of atomic particles. * * * …   Universalium

  • Stern, Otto — ▪ American physicist born Feb. 17, 1888, Sohrau, Ger. [now Zory, Poland] died Aug. 17, 1969, Berkeley, Calif., U.S.       German born scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1943 for his development of the molecular beam as a tool… …   Universalium

  • Stern, Otto — (1888–1969)    German physicist and Nobel laureate, 1943. Stern worked in close collaboration with Albert EINSTEIN in Prague and Zurich before striking out on his own. In 1923 he was appointed professor of physical chemistry at the University of… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Stern, Otto — (1888 1969)    German physicist. He worked with Albert Einstein in Prague and Zurich. In 1923 he became professor of physical chemistry at the University of Hamburg. When Hitler came to power in Germany, he went to the US and became professor of… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Stern, Otto — ► (1888 1969) Físico alemán. Fue premio Nobel de Física en 1943, por la invención de una técnica para estudiar los núcleos atómicos y las partículas elementales …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Otto Robert Frisch — s wartime Los Alamos ID badge photo. Born 1 October 1904 Vienna, Austria …   Wikipedia

  • STERN (O.) — STERN OTTO (1888 1969) Physicien théoricien, lauréat du prix Nobel, né à Sorau (aujourd’hui かory, Haute Silésie). Otto Stern obtient son doctorat de chimie physique à l’université de Breslau (1912). Intéressé par les recherches d’Albert Einstein …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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