Hertha Sponer's vacuum spectrograph

Hertha Sponer's vacuum spectrograph

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

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Caption: Hertha Sponer's vacuum spectrograph. German physicist Hertha Dorothea Elisabeth Sponer-Franck (1895-1968, nee Sponer) studied at the University of Tubingen, and then at the University of Gottingen. A pioneer for women in science, she worked on quantum and molecular physics. Her work in the 1920s and 1930s in the USA and Germany included the Birge-Sponer method of spectroscopy for determining dissociation energies. Sponer specialised in vacuum spectroscopy in the difficult region of ultraviolet wavelengths. The method allowed recording of such spectra by use of a diffraction grating and a Schumann plate in a vacuum. Photographed circa 1932.

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