Otto Stern (1888–1969): The founding father of experimental atomic physics

  title={Otto Stern (1888–1969): The founding father of experimental atomic physics},
  author={J. Peter Toennies and H Schmidt-B{\"o}cking and Bretislav Friedrich and Julian Lower},
  journal={Annalen der Physik},
We review the work and life of Otto Stern who developed the molecular beam technique and with its aid laid the foundations of experimental atomic physics. Among the key results of his research are: the experimental test of the Maxwell‐Boltzmann distribution of molecular velocities (1920), experimental demonstration of space quantization of angular momentum (1922), diffraction of matter waves comprised of atoms and molecules by crystals (1931) and the determination of the magnetic dipole moments… 

Otto Stern’s Molecular Beam Method and Its Impact on Quantum Physics

Motivated by his interest in thermodynamics and the emerging quantum mechanics, Otto Stern (1888–1969) launched in 1919 his molecular beam method to examine the fundamental assumptions of theory that

The Stern-Gerlach experiment revisited

Abstract The Stern-Gerlach-Experiment (SGE) performed in 1922 is a seminal benchmark experiment of quantum physics providing evidence for several fundamental properties of quantum systems. Based on

Otto Stern and Wave-Particle Duality

  • J. Toennies
  • Physics
    Molecular Beams in Physics and Chemistry
  • 2021
The contributions of Otto Stern to the discovery of wave-particle duality of matter particles predicted by de Broglie are reviewed. After a short introduction to the early matter-vs-wave ideas about

Grating Diffraction of Molecular Beams: Present Day Implementations of Otto Stern’s Concept

When Otto Stern embarked on molecular-beam experiments in his new lab at Hamburg University a century ago, one of his interests was to demonstrate the wave-nature of atoms and molecules that had been

Testing Fundamental Physics by Using Levitated Mechanical Systems

  • H. Ulbricht
  • Physics
    Molecular Beams in Physics and Chemistry
  • 2021
We will describe recent progress of experiments towards realising large-mass single particle experiments to test fundamental physics theories such as quantum mechanics and gravity, but also specific

One hundred years ago Alfred Landé unriddled the Anomalous Zeeman Effect and presaged electron spin

In order to commemorate Alfred Landé’s unriddling of the anomalous Zeeman Effect a century ago, we reconstruct his seminal contribution to atomic physics in light of the atomic models available at

Einstein, Ehrenfest, and the quantum measurement problem

A joint paper by Albert Einstein and Paul Ehrenfest, published just weeks after the results of the Stern-Gerlach experiment became known, shows with remarkable clarity and prescience the

An Homage to Otto Stern

This chapter outlines an International Symposium held at Frankfurt on 1–5 September 2019. It marked the centennial of quantitative experiments with molecular beams, pioneered by Otto Stern. The

An International Symposium (Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Seminar # 702) Marked the Centennial of Otto Stern's First Molecular Beam Experiment and the Thriving of Atomic Physics; A European Physical Society Historic Site Was Inaugurated

Citation: Friedrich B, Herschbach D, Schmidt-Böcking H and Toennies P (2019) An International Symposium (Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Seminar # 702) Marked the Centennial of Otto Stern’s First Molecular



Molecular beams entwined with quantum theory: A bouquet for Max Planck

In an era when the fledgling quantum theory was “uncertain and even gave contradictory answers,” Otto Stern undertook to employ molecular beams to test directly fundamental aspects of the theory.

The Motion of the Spinning Electron

IN a letter published in NATURE of February 20, p. 264, Messrs. Uhlenbeck and Goudsmit have shown how great difficulties which atomic theory had met in the attempt to explain spectral structure and

The interaction of atoms and molecules with solid surfaces VI—The behaviour of adsorbed helium at low temperatures

The heat of adsorption of helium atoms on solid surfaces is so small that no one has succeeded in measuring it directly. Its value could probably be inferred from a series of accurate measurements of

History of molecular beam research: Personal reminiscences of the important evolutionary period 1919–1933

Dr. Immanuel Estermann was engaged in writing a book on the History of the Molecular Beam Method when he died in Haifa, Israel on 31 March 1973. The original plan of the manuscript was to cover three

Validity of the minisuperspace approximation: An example from interacting quantum field theory.

  • SinhaHu
  • Physics
    Physical review. D, Particles and fields
  • 1991
This work explicitly compute the back reaction of the inhomogeneous modes on the minisuperspace sector using a coarse-grained effective action and shows that the min is uperspace approximation is valid only when this back reaction is small.

The Molecular Beam Resonance Method for Measuring Nuclear Magnetic Moments The Magnetic Moments of 3 Li 6 , 3 Li 7 and 9 F 19

A new method of measuring nuclear or other magnetic moment is described. The method, which consists essentially in the measurement of a Larmor frequency in known magnetic fields, is of very general

What Little I Remember

Preface 1. Vienna 1904-1927 2. Atoms 3. Berlin 1927-1930 4. Hamburg 1930-1933 5. Nuclei 6. London 1933-1934 7. Denmark 1934-1939 8. Denmark 1934-1939 9. Energy from the nuclei 10. Birmingham

A Mind Always in Motion: The Autobiography of Emilio Segre

The renowned physicist Emilio Segre (1905-1989) left his memoirs to be published posthumously because, he said, 'I tell the truth the way it was and not the way many of my colleagues wish it had

Space quantization : Otto Stern's lucky star

Otto Stern est a l'origine de la physique quantique de l'espace grâce a la theorie de Bohr dont Stern confirma la logique

Stern and Gerlach: How a Bad Cigar Helped Reorient Atomic Physics

The history of the Stern–Gerlach experiment reveals how persistence, accident, and luck can sometimes combine in just the right ways.