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Arthur Compton and Francis Simon

Arthur Compton and Francis Simon

C026/4069

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Credit

AIP EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY AIP EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Editorial use only.

Caption

US physicist Arthur Holly Compton (1892-1962, left) and Francis Simon (1893-1956) with equipment used to demonstrate the particle aspect of X-rays. Compton received the 1927 Nobel Prize in Physics for showing that photons have energy and momentum, and that in quantum mechanics, an object can behave as both a particle and a wave at the same time. This is known as wave-particle duality. He also studied cosmic rays, the rain of high-energy particles that arrives at Earth from space. He showed that some of these were deflected by the Earth's magnetic field. NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory satellite was named in his honour. Francis devised the method and confirmed the feasibility of separating the isotope Uranium-235. As a result he made a major contribution to the creation of the atomic bomb.

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