Nicolaas Bloembergen, American physicist

Nicolaas Bloembergen, American physicist

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Credit: EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Nicolaas Bloembergen (b. 1920), Dutch-American physicist, demonstrating the three-level solid state maser at Harvard University, USA in 1958. He is holding a crystal of potassium chrome cyanide. Bloembergen joined Harvard in 1946, where he carried out fundamental research on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). This lead him to study masers (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) and then lasers. He developed laser spectroscopy, a technique that allows high-precision observations of atomic structure. He shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Arthur Schawlow and Kai Siegbahn for this work.

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