Gustav Ludwig Hertz
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1925
Born: 22 July 1887, Hamburg, Germany
Died: 30 October 1975, Berlin, East Germany (now Germany)
Affiliation at the time of the award: Halle University, Halle, Germany
Prize motivation: “for their discovery of the laws governing the impact of an electron upon an atom”
Gustav Hertz 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, Gustav Hertz and James Franck 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.
Their work and discoveries range from the Earth’s climate and our sense of touch to efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.
See them all presented here.