Clinton Davisson


Clinton Joseph Davisson

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Clinton Joseph Davisson
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1937

Born: 22 October 1881, Bloomington, IL, USA

Died: 1 February 1958, Charlottesville, VA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Bell Telephone Laboratories, New York, NY, USA

Prize motivation: “for their experimental discovery of the diffraction of electrons by crystals”

Prize share: 1/2


In the beginning of the 19th century, quantum physics evolved from the idea that energy is conveyed in only certain fixed amounts. An early finding indicated that light can be regarded as both waves and particles. Later it was proposed that matter, such as electrons, also can be described as both waves and particles. In 1927 Clinton Davisson and G.P. Thomson demonstrated, independently of one another, that electrons could be described as waves. When an electron beam passed through a nickel crystal, diffraction patterns appeared.

To cite this section
MLA style: Clinton Davisson – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Sat. 9 Dec 2023. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Streams during Nobel Week

Watch the 2023 Nobel Prize lectures, the Nobel Prize Concert, Nobel Week Dialogue, the prize award ceremonies in Oslo and Stockholm and Nobel Peace Prize Forum here at
Watch lectures and award ceremonies

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.