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Michelson and his interferometer, 1870s

Michelson and his interferometer, 1870s

C029/1119

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Credit

US NAVY, NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY US NAVY, NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Michelson and his interferometer. Illustration of US physicist and teacher Albert Abraham Michelson (1852-1931) with one of his interferometers in 1878-9, at the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, USA. He graduated from here in 1873, returning in 1875 and working as an instructor in physics and chemistry until 1879. In this period, he carried out his first interferometry experiments, measuring the speed of light. His later work with Morley (Michelson-Morley experiment of 1887) tested Einstein's theory of relativity. Michelson was awarded the 1907 Nobel Prize in Physics for his interferometry work. Painting by Cliff Young made in 1965.

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