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Portrait of Peter Debye

Portrait of Peter Debye

H404/0048

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Portrait of Peter (Joseph Wilhelm) Debye (1884- 1966), Dutch-American chemical physicist. Debye originally trained as an electrical engineer, turning to physics for his PhD in 1908. Debye was instrumental in the discovery and study of the dipolar nature of some molecules. Those molecules with a positive charge on one portion of their structure and a negative charge on another may be made to align with an electrical field. This work led to his 1936 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He also developed the modern model of ionic solutions, proving that most salts were completely ionised in solution. In 1940 he moved to America, becoming a US citizen in 1946.

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