
Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld, 1897
Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld (December 5, 1868 – April 26, 1951) was a German physicist who introduced the finestructure constant in 1919. Arnold Sommerfeld was born in Königsberg where he studied mathematics and physical sciences at its university. After receiving his doctorate in 1891 he changed to the University of Göttingen, where he received a professorship in 1896. He became professor of mathematics at the University of ClausthalZellerfeld in 1897 and of technical engineering at the University of Aachen in 1900, where he developed the theory of Hydrodynamic lubrication. In 1897, he began a thirteenyear collaboration with C.F. Klein on a fourvolume treatise of the gyroscope. From 19061931 he established himself as professor of physics at the University of Munich. There he came in contact with the special theory of relativity by Albert Einstein, which was not yet widely accepted at that time. His mathematical contributions to the theory helped its acceptance by the skeptics. In 1914 he studied with Léon Brillouin the propagation of electromagnetic waves in dispersive media. Later he became one of the founders of quantum mechanics; he codiscovered the SommerfeldWilson quantization rules, a generalization of Bohr's atomic model that was eventually superseded by the Schrödinger equation. His Atomic Structure and Spectral Lines (1919) became a classic. Many of his students, most notably Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Hans Bethe and Peter Debye, became famous in their own right. In 1927 Sommerfeld applied FermiDirac statistics to the Drude model of electrons in metals. The new theory solved many of the problems predicting thermal properties that model had. Sommerfeld was a great theoretician, and besides his invaluable contributions to the quantum theory, he worked in other fields of physics, such as the classical theory of electromagnetism. For example, he proposed a solution to the problem of a radiating hertzian dipole over a conducting earth, which over the years led to many applications. His Sommerfeld identity and Sommerfeld integrals are still to the present day the most common way to solve this kind of problem. Arnold Johannes Wilhelm Sommerfeld He was awarded the Lorentz Medal in 1939. Sommerfeld died in 1951 in Munich from injuries after a traffic accident. Links
Biographies of Physicists and Astronomers Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Sommerfeld"


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