Clinton Joseph Davisson
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.