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Willis Lamb

Willis Lamb

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Willis Eugene Lamb, Jr. (July 12, 1913 – May 15, 2008) was an American physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

 who won the Nobel Prize in Physics
Nobel Prize in Physics
The Nobel Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901; the others are the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Literature, Nobel Peace Prize, and...

 in 1955 together with Polykarp Kusch
Polykarp Kusch
Polykarp Kusch was a German-American physicist. In 1955 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics with Willis Eugene Lamb for his accurate determination that the magnetic moment of the electron was greater than its theoretical value, thus leading to reconsideration of—and...

 "for his discoveries concerning the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum". Lamb and Kusch were able to precisely determine certain electromagnetic
Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

 properties of the electron
The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. It has no known components or substructure; in other words, it is generally thought to be an elementary particle. An electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton...

 (see Lamb shift). Lamb was a professor at the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences
University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences
The University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences, considered the largest institute for optics education in the United States, is dedicated to research and education in optics with an emphasis on engineering...


Lamb was born in Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and attended Los Angeles High School
Los Angeles High School
Los Angeles High School is the oldest public high school in the Southern California Region and in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Its colors are blue and white and the teams are called the Romans....

. First admitted in 1930, he received a Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

 in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

 in 1934. For theoretical work on scattering of neutrons by a crystal, guided by J. Robert Oppenheimer, he received the Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 in physics in 1938. Because of limited computational methods available at the time, this research narrowly missed revealing the Mössbauer Effect
Mössbauer effect
The Mössbauer effect, or recoilless nuclear resonance fluorescence‎, is a physical phenomenon discovered by Rudolf Mössbauer in 1958. It involves the resonant and recoil-free emission and absorption of γ radiation by atomic nuclei bound in a solid...

, 19 years before its recognition by Mössbauer. Lamb was the Wykeham Professor
Wykeham Professor
The University of Oxford has three statutory professorships named after William of Wykeham.-Logic:The Wykeham Professorship in Logic was established in 1859, although it was not known as the Wykeham chair until later...

 of Physics at the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 from 1956 to 1962, and also taught at Yale
RapidMiner, formerly YALE , is an environment for machine learning, data mining, text mining, predictive analytics, and business analytics. It is used for research, education, training, rapid prototyping, application development, and industrial applications...

, Columbia
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, Stanford and the University of Arizona
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona is a land-grant and space-grant public institution of higher education and research located in Tucson, Arizona, United States. The University of Arizona was the first university in the state of Arizona, founded in 1885...

. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

 in 1963.

Lamb married his first wife, Ursula Schaefer in 1939.
In 1996 he married physicist Bruria Kaufman
Bruria Kaufman
Bruria Kaufman was an Israeli theoretical physicist. She contributed to Albert Einstein's Theory of general relativity and to statistical physics. She is well-known for her studies of derivation using spinor analysis of the exact result of Lars Onsager on the partition function of the...

, whom he later divorced.
In 2008 he married Elsie Wattson.

Lamb died on May 15, 2008, at the age of 94.

External links