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.

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