April 24, 1960 – Death of Max von Laue, Nobel Prize in Physics for his discoveries on X-ray diffraction

Max von Laue

He studied physical sciences at the universities of Strasbourg, Göttingen and Munich, being his mentor Max Planck.

In 1912, he served as professor of physics at the University of Zurich and between 1919 and 1943 he was director of Theoretical Physics at the University of Berlin. After retiring in 1943, he received the appointment of honorary professor at the University of Göttingen.

Von Laue investigated a method to measure the wavelength of X-rays, using, for the first time, very fine salt crystals used as a diffraction grating, showing that these rays were analogous in nature to those of light, but not visible, since its wavelength is extremely short. He also studied the patterns (symmetrical images) produced on photographic plates by X-rays that have undergone reflection or refraction in a crystalline material.

His innovation was to suggest that the space between atoms should exceed magnitude 10-10 for X-ray diffraction to be real. This hypothesis was confirmed in 1912.

In 1914, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discoveries on the diffraction of X-rays through crystals. Thanks to this, a better study of the crystal structure (X-ray crystallography) was possible.

Likewise, he was interested in the field of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity looking for points that supported it.

In 1951, he began to direct the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin.

SIf you want to know more about this scientist, click on the following link: Max von Laue

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