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US physicist Albert Michelson

US physicist Albert Michelson

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Albert Michelson (1852-1931), the US physicist and Nobel Prize-winner. Michelson was born in Poland but emigrated to the USA with his parents in 1856, settling in the west during the gold rush. Much of his life as a scientist was devoted to performing exquisitely accurate measurements, particularly of the speed of light. This enabled him to carry out the landmark Michelson-Morley experiment with Ed- ward Morley in 1887, which failed to establish the existence of the all-pervading "ether" and as a result led Einstein to his theory of relativity (which Michelson never accepted). He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1909, the first American to do so.

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