Samuel Abraham Goudsmit

George Uhlenbeck, Hendrik Kramers, and Samuel Goudsmit around 1928 in Ann Arbor. Uhlenbeck and Goudsmit proposed the idea of electron spins three years earlier when they were studying in Leiden with Paul Ehrenfest.

Samuel Abraham Goudsmit (born July 11, 1902 Den Haag, The Netherlands, died December 4, 1978 in Reno, Nevada) was a Dutch-American physicist famous for jointly proposing the concept of electron spin with George Eugene Uhlenbeck. He studied physics at the University of Leiden under Paul Ehrenfest, where he obtained his PhD in 1927. After receiving his Phd, Goudsmit served as a Professor at the University of Michigan between 1927 and 1946.

He was also the scientific head of the Alsos mission of the Manhattan Project, which was designed to assess the progress of the Nazi atomic bomb project. Goudsmit concluded that the Germans did not get close to creating a weapon, which he attributed to the inability of science to function under a totalitarian state (the development of atomic weapons by at least two other totalitarian states has been seen to go against this conclusion, although it needs to be said that later atomic weapons were developed with the knowledge of their possibility, and also sometimes with stolen technology). His other conclusion, that the German scientists simply did not understand the science of nuclear fission, has been long since rebutted by later historians. Nevertheless his assessment of the lack of progress in the German program — if not his conclusions as to why it was that way — have generally held up over time. Later, he was a well known Editor of the famous physics journal Physical Review, published by the American Physical Society.

He also had some contribution in egyptology

Links

Goudsmit on the discovery of electron spin


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