Otto Stern

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Otto Stern was an American who was born in Germany. In 1943, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics. Around the end of the 1800s, he was born in the Kingdom of Prussia to a wealthy Jewish family. Because his family had a lot of money, he didn’t have to look for work right after he finished school. Instead, he worked as a Privatdozent in a few universities for a long time before getting his first official academic job in the early 1920s. At first, he focused more on theoretical issues. He didn’t become interested in experimental physics until he met great experimenters like James Franck and Max Volmer. In a short amount of time, he came up with the molecular-beam method and, with Walther Gerlach, discovered spin quantization. It gave him not only fame but also the chance to do more research. Some of the most important things he did were measure the magnetic moments of atoms, show that atoms and molecules behave like waves, and find the magnetic moment of the proton. When Hitler’s Nazi Party took power, he moved to the United States and became an American citizen. After working for more than twelve years at Carnegie Mellon University, he finally retired and moved to California.

Early years and childhood

Otto Stern was born on February 17, 1888, in Sohrau, which is now called Zory. He was born into a wealthy Jewish family. The town is in a part of Poland called Upper Silesia. But when he was born, it was part of the German Empire’s Kingdom of Prussia.

His rich grain merchant father, Oskar Stern, also owned flour mills. Eugenia Rosenthal was the name of his mother. Otto was the oldest of the couple’s five children. In 1892, Otto’s family moved to Breslau, which is now called Wroclaw, Poland. Otto started school at Johannes Gymnasium.

As Gymnasium put more of an emphasis on the classics than on math and science, Stern added to what he learned in school by reading a lot on his own time. After he graduated from high school, he went to several universities, which was common back then. In 1906, he chose to study physical chemistry at the University of Breslau.

Otto Stern finished his studies at the University of Breslau in 1912 and got his Ph.D. In the same year, he went to Prague to study at Charles University with Albert Einstein.
Otto Stern went with Einstein when he went back to his old school, ETH Zürich, in 1913. He worked as the Privatdozent of Physical Chemistry at ETH for a year.

In 1914, he became a Privatdozent of Theoretical Physics at the University of Frankfurt am Main. In 1915, he got his Habilitation from the University. This is the highest academic degree a scholar can get. Soon after, World War I started, and he joined the German army.

Near the end of the war, he was sent to Nernst’s lab at the University of Berlin to do military research. There, he became friends with famous experimenters James Franck and Max Volmer.

Before that, Stern had mostly studied statistical thermodynamics and quantum theory from a theoretical point of view. Now, Franck and Volmer had an effect on him, and he started to become interested in experimental physics.

Otto Stern’s Career

Otto Stern went back to the University of Frankfurt am Main after the war ended in 1918. He stayed there until 1921. At first, he kept working on theoretical problems and wrote a paper about the surface energy of solids. Soon, he started to feel like he should do experiments to prove his point.

But before he could finish his experiment, he got his first real job in academia. In 1921, he became an Associate Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Rostock.

Stern and Walther Gerlach did their historic molecular-beam experiment in 1922. They were both teachers at Rostock at the time. It was called the Stern–Gerlach experiment, and it proved the spin quantization theory, which said that atoms can only line up in a few ways in a magnetic field.

Then, in 1923, Stern became a professor of physical chemistry and the head of the lab at the University of Hamburg. Here, he put together a great research group that did many first-of-their-kind experiments. Because of him, the University of Hamburg became a well-known place for studying atoms, molecules, and nuclei.

During this time, Stern did more experiments to find out how matter works at the quantum level. By diffracting beams of helium and hydrogen atoms, these experiments confirmed many other important facts, such as the fact that helium and hydrogen atoms behave like waves and that the magnetic moments of the proton and deuteron are not regular.

In July 1933, when Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party took over in Germany, Stern had to quit his job. By that time, he was known all over the world. In 1930, the University of California, Berkeley gave him an LL.D. So, he decided to move to the United States.

In 1933, Stern got a job as a professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He stayed there and did a lot of research in experimental physics until he retired in 1945.

Stern moved to California after he retired and took a job as Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He was chosen to be a member of the National Academy of Sciences the same year. He stayed there for the rest of his life.

Works of note

Otto Stern’s most important work was the Stern–Gerlach experiment, which took place in 1922. He and Walther Gerlach sent a beam of silver atoms through an uneven magnetic field onto a piece of glass and watched how they scattered.

Classical physics says that the beam should have spread out like a band, but what was seen was only two beams. It not only proved the spin quantization theory but also made it possible for physics to keep getting better.

Another important thing he did was use a molecular beam to measure the magnetic momentum of a proton. The experiment, which was done in 1933, showed that the real measurement is two and a half times what the theory says it should be.

He also wrote a lot of papers. The most important of these is a set of thirty excellent papers called “Untersuchung zur Molekularstrahl-Methode, UzM” (Investigations by the molecular-beam method).

Awards & Achievements

Otto Stern won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1943 for coming up with the theory of “spin quantization.” Even though Walther Gerlach also worked on the project, he was not awarded the prize because Gerlach stayed in Germany and worked during the Nazi era.

He was also chosen to be a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences.

Personal History and Legacies

Otto Stern never tied the knot. As a young man, he liked to have a good time and dance. He could also play tennis well and had a lot of friends.

He was made a citizen of the United States of America on March 8, 1939. He lived his final years in Berkeley, California. There, he lived alone, but he kept up with the latest findings in particle physics and astrophysics. He also often went to the movies.

He died at Berkeley on August 17, 1969, when he was 81 years old. While watching a movie, he had a heart attack and died soon after. He was buried in El Cerrito, California, at Sunset View Cemetery.

The kinetics of a photophysical intermolecular deactivation process is called the “Otto-Volmer Relationship” after Otto Stern and his lifelong friend Max Volmer. Since World War I, the two scientists had worked together for a long time.

Otto Sterm’s Fact

Otto Stern was the second person who was put forward for the Nobel Prize the most. Between 1925 and 1945, he was nominated for 82 awards. In the end, he won it in 1943.

Estimated Net worth

Otto Stern makes most of his money from acting, which he does well. From Switzerland, he comes. We have guessed Otto Stern’s money, salary, income, assets, and net worth. Five million dollars in 2021