Edward Mills Purcell

Edward Mills Purcell

Infobox Scientist
name = Edward Purcell

imagesize = 180px
caption = Edward Mills Purcell (1912-1997)
birth_date = August 30, 1912
birth_place = Taylorville, Illinois, USA
death_date = March 7, 1997
death_place = Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
nationality = United States
fields = Physics
workplaces = Harvard University
alma_mater = Purdue University
Harvard University
doctoral_advisor = John Van Vleck
academic_advisor =
doctoral_students = Nicolaas Bloembergen
notable_students =
known_for = nowrap|Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)
Smith-Purcell effect
influences =
influenced =
awards = nowrap|Nobel Prize for Physics (1952)

Edward Mills Purcell (August 30, 1912 – March 7, 1997) was an American physicist who shared the 1952 Nobel Prize for Physics for his independent discovery (published 1946) of nuclear magnetic resonance in liquids and in solids. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) has become widely used to study the molecular structure of pure materials and the composition of mixtures.


Born and raised in Taylorville, Illinois, Purcell received his BE in electrical engineering from Purdue University, followed by his M.A. and Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University. He was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma while at Purdue [http://www.greek101.com/lounge/famous.php?org=Phi%20Kappa%20Sigma] . After spending the years of World War II working at the MIT Radiation Laboratory on the development of microwave radar, Purcell returned to Harvard to do research. In December 1945, he discovered nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) with his colleagues Pound and Torrey [E.M. Purcell, H.C. Torrey, and R.V. Pound. "Resonance Absorption by Nuclear Magnetic Moments in a Solid." Phys. Rev. 69 37 (1946) [http://link.aps.org/abstract/PR/v69/p37] ] . NMR provides scientists with an elegant and precise way of determining chemical structure and properties of materials, and is widely used in physics and chemistry. It also is the basis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), one of the most important medical advances of the 20th century. For his discovery of NMR, Purcell shared the 1952 Nobel Prize in physics with Felix Bloch of Stanford University.

Purcell also made contributions to astronomy as the first to detect radio emissions from neutral galactic hydrogen (the famous 21 cm line due to hyperfine splitting), affording the first views of the spiral arms of the Milky Way [H.I. Ewen and E.M. Purcell. "Observation of a Line in the Galactic Spectrum." Nature 168 356 (1951) [http://www.nature.com/physics/looking-back/ewen/index.html] ] . This observation helped launch the field of radio astronomy, and measurements of the 21 cm line are still an important technique in modern astronomy. He has also made other seminal contributions to solid state physics, with studies of spin-echo relaxation, nuclear magnetic relaxation, and negative spin temperature (important in the development of the laser). With Norman F. Ramsey, he was the first to question the CP symmetry of particle physics.

Purcell was the recipient of many awards for his scientific, educational, and civic work. He served as science advisor to Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson. He was president of the American Physical Society, and a member of the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1979. Purcell was also inducted into his Fraternity's (Phi Kappa Sigma) Hall of Fame as the first Phi Kap ever to receive a Nobel Prize.

Purcell is the author of "Electricity and Magnetism" (1965) — originally "Volume 2" of the "Berkeley Physics Course". (A 1984 second edition is meant to stand on its own.) This elegant text, which showcases Purcell's skill as a teacher, is still one of the standard introductory electricity and magnetism textbooks in college physics. Purcell is also remembered by biologists for his famous lecture "Life at Low Reynolds Number" [ E.M. Purcell. "Life at Low Reynolds Number", American Journal of Physics vol 45, p. 3-11 (1977) [http://jilawww.colorado.edu/perkinsgroup/Purcell_life_at_low_reynolds_number.pdf] ] .

ee also

*Relativistic electromagnetism


External links

* [http://www.osti.gov/accomplishments/purcell.html Biography and Bibliographic Resources] , from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, United States Department of Energy
* [http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/biomems/epurcell.html National Academy of Sciences biography]
* [http://www.nobel-winners.com/Physics/edward_mills_purcell.html Edward Mills Purcell]
* [http://www.nrao.edu/whatisra/hist_ewenpurcell.shtml The story of the 21 cm line experiment, including a photo of Purcell]
* [http://www.genealogy.ams.org/id.php?id=14187 Purcell's Math Genealogy]

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  • Edward Mills Purcell — Edward Mills Purcell. Edward Mills Purcell (* 30. August 1912 in Taylorville, Illinois; † 7. März 1997 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) war ein amerikanischer Physiker. Purcell studierte an der Purdue University (Bachelor Abschluss in Elekt …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Edward Mills Purcell — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Retrato de 1952. Edward Mills Purcell (Taylorville, 30 de agosto de 1912 Cambridge, 7 de marzo de 1997) fue un físico estadounidense que compartió el Premio Nobel de Física de 1952 con Felix Bloch por sus… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Edward Mills Purcell — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Purcell. Edward Mills Purcell. Edward Mills Purcell (30 août 1912 7  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Edward Mills Purcell — Físico norteamericano, n. en Taylorville (Ill.) y m. en Cambridge (Mass.). A poco de iniciar su labor de profesor en la Universidad de Harvard (1949), detectó las microondas emitidas por el hidrógeno en el espacio interestelar, radiación que… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Edward M. Purcell — Edward Mills Purcell Pour les articles homonymes, voir Purcell. Edward Mills Purcell. Edward Mills Purcell (30 août 1912 7  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Edward M. Purcell — Edward Mills Purcell. Edward Mills Purcell (* 30. August 1912 in Taylorville, Illinois; † 7. März 1997 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) war ein amerikanischer Physiker. Purcell entdeckte 1945 die Kernspinresonanz (NMR) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Purcell, Edward Mills — ▪ 1998       American physicist (b. Aug. 30, 1912, Taylorville, Ill. d. March 7, 1997, Cambridge, Mass.), shared the 1952 Nobel Prize for Physics with Felix Bloch for independently developing nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), a method used to… …   Universalium

  • Purcell , Edward Mills — (1912–) American physicist Purcell was born at Taylorville, Illinois. He gained his BSc degree in electrical engineering at Purdue University, Illinois (1933) and his masters degree and PhD from Harvard (1938), having also spent a year in Germany …   Scientists

  • Purcell, Edward Mills — ► (1912 97) Físico estadounidense. Fue premio Nobel de Física en 1952, compartido con Bloch, por su descubrimiento de la resonancia magnética nuclear en los sólidos …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Physiknobelpreis 1952: Felix Bloch — Edward Mills Purcel —   Die amerikanischen Physiker erhielten den Nobelpreis für ihre Entwicklung verfeinerter und vereinfachter Methoden zur Messung magnetischer Kraftfelder.    Biografien   Felix Bloch, * Zürich 23. 10. 1905, ✝ Zürich 10. 9. 1983; 1928 Entdeckung… …   Universal-Lexikon