Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1949
William F. Giauque

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William F. Giauque - Facts

William Francis Giauque

William Francis Giauque

Born: 12 May 1895, Niagara Falls, Canada

Died: 28 March 1982, Berkeley, CA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

Prize motivation: "for his contributions in the field of chemical thermodynamics, particularly concerning the behaviour of substances at extremely low temperatures"

Field: chemical thermodynamics, physical chemistry

Prize share: 1/1


Thermodynamics is about heat and its transformation into other forms of energy - basically involving statistical descriptions of atomic and molecular movements. An important but difficult to grasp concept in thermodynamics is entropy, which is a measure of disorder in a system. The third law of thermodynamics states that the entropy in a perfect crystal is zero when the absolute temperature is zero. In 1933 William Giauque used a magnetic field to attain an extremely low temperature and was able provide evidence for the law's validity.

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