James Franck


James Franck

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

James Franck
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1925

Born: 26 August 1882, Hamburg, Germany

Died: 21 May 1964, Göttingen, West Germany (now Germany)

Affiliation at the time of the award: Goettingen University, Göttingen, Germany

Prize motivation: “for their discovery of the laws governing the impact of an electron upon an atom”

James Franck received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1926.

Prize share: 1/2


After the publication of Niels Bohr’s theory on the structure of the atom, James Franck and Gustav Hertz conducted an experiment in 1913 to verify it. A potential difference was applied to a tube containing a low-pressure gas. When the potential difference was increased, the current flowing through the tube also increased until it reached a certain voltage, when it suddenly declined. The result supported Bohr’s theory, in which electrons can only have specific, discrete energies. The potential difference increased the free electrons’ mobility until, at a certain energy level, bound electrons jumped to a higher-energy orbit instead.

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MLA style: James Franck – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Wed. 8 Feb 2023. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/1925/franck/facts/>

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