Portrait of Albert Einstein and Others from Scientific Identity: Portraits from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology.
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Image ID: SIL-SIL14-E1-09
Supplied Caption: Portrait of Albert Einstein and Others
Original Caption: Portrait of Albert Einstein and Others.
Be prepared to talk physics if you grab a seat on this couch! Sitting together are four of the most important men of the 20th century. Left to right, they are Niels Bohr, James Franck, Albert Einstein, and Isidor Isaac Rabi, and during their careers, they each received the Nobel Prize in Physics! From Denmark, Niels Bohr (1885-1962) was awarded the 1922 Nobel for his work on the structure of atoms. During the Nazi occupation of Denmark during WWII, Bohr and his family lived in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the U.S., where Bohr worked with the Atomic Energy Commission. Bohr was a strong believer that atomic energy should be used peacefully. To Bohr’s right, James Franck (1882-1964) from Germany, with Gustav Hertz, won the 1925 Nobel for his work on the movement of free electrons in gasses – an experiment that was inspired by the work of Bohr. Also like Bohr, Franck left Germany during the WWII, settling at Johns Hopkins University and later at the University of Chicago.
Perhaps the most recognizable figure sitting here is Albert Einstein (1879-1955) from Germany. Einstein had travelled all over during his career and won the 1921 Nobel for his work on the Law of the Photoelectric Effect, which is foundational to quantum physics. This success came at the middle of his career, after many of his works on relativity had been published. Einstein, being a celebrated Jewish intellectual, was particularly targeted by the Nazis, with a bounty placed on his head; he became a refugee in England, eventually settling in New Jersey. Last but not least, Isidor Isaac Rabi (1898-1988) is from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, now called Poland. Unlike Bohr, Franck, and Einstein, his family immigrated to the United States when he was a child, and he studied at Cornell and Columbia Universities. Rabi received the 1944 Nobel for his work discovering how to record “the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei." Like Bohr, Rabi was vocally opposed to the use of atomic energy for weapons.
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