Hannes Olof Gösta Alfvén
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1970
Born: 30 May 1908, Norrköping, Sweden
Died: 2 April 1995, Djursholm, Sweden
Affiliation at the time of the award: Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Prize motivation: "for fundamental work and discoveries in magnetohydro-dynamics with fruitful applications in different parts of plasma physics."
Prize share: 1/2
The phenomenon of aurora borealis occurs when bursts of charged particles from the sun collide with the earth's magnetic field. These jets of particles are an example of a special state of matter - plasma. Plasma is a gas comprised of electrons and ions (electrically charged atoms) that forms at high temperatures. From the late 1930s onward, Hannes Alfvén developed a theory about aurora borealis, which led to magneto-hydrodynamics; the theory of the relationships between a plasma's movements, electric currents and fields, and magnetic fields.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.