Willis Lamb - University Of California, Berkeley, Family and Childhood

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Willis Lamb's Personal Details

Willis Eugene Lamb Jr

InformationDetail
BirthdayJuly 12, 1913
Died onMay 15, 2008
NationalityAmerican
FamousUniversity Of California, Berkeley, Scientists, Physicists
SiblingsPerry
Known asWillis Eugene Lamb Jr.
Universities
  • University Of California, Berkeley
  • University of California
  • Berkeley
Notable Alumnis
  • University Of California
  • Berkeley
Discoveries / Inventions
  • Lamb Shift
  • Laser Theory
  • Quantum Optics
Birth PlaceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
GenderMale
FatherWillis Eugene Lamb
MotherMarie Helen Metcalfe
Sun SignCancer
Born inLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Famous asPhysicist
Died at Age94

// Famous Alumni of University Of California, Berkeley

Willis Lamb's photo

Who is Willis Lamb?

Willis Eugene Lamb Jr. was an American physicist who received the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering a minute difference in the energy levels of a hydrogen atom. His findings led to a reassessment of the basic concept related to the application of the quantum theory to electromagnetism. This deviation in the energy level of an electron orbiting round the nucleus of a hydrogen atom came to be known as ‘the Lamb shift’. The discovery greatly affected the concept of quantum theory related to matter. He shared the Nobel Prize with German-American physicist, Ploykarp Kusch who had also come to the same conclusions while doing the experiment independently. In 1939, at the age of 26, he predicted an effect which was proven 20 years later as the ‘Mossbauer Effect’ also known as the ‘Lamb-Dicke-Mossbauer Effect’. His research covered subjects like theory of the interactions between matter and neutrons, range of fission fragments, theories of nuclear structure, fluctuations in cosmic ray showers, theories of beta decay, pair production, order-disorder problems, quadrupole interactions in molecules and diamagnetic corrections for nuclear resonance. He also studied the design of magnetron oscillators, theory of electrodynamic energy level displacements, theory of the microwave spectroscope and the fine structure of hydrogen, helium and deuterium atoms.

// Famous Scientists

Childhood & Early Life

Willis E. Lamb was born in Los Angeles, California, USA on July 12, 1913. His father, Willis Eugene was a telephone engineer and his mother was Marie Helen Metcalfe.

He had a younger brother named Perry.

His initially studied for three years in Oakland, California and then joined a public school in Los Angeles.

He graduated from the ‘Los Angeles High School’ with mathematics, physics and chemistry as his major subjects.

He enrolled at the ‘University of California’ in Berkeley in 1930 and received a B.S. bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the university in 1934.

He studied theoretical physics and did his thesis for his doctorate under J. Robert Oppeheimer who later headed the Manhattan Project.

Lamb received his doctorate from the ‘University of California’ in Berkeley in 1938 for his dissertation related to the electromagnetic properties of nuclear systems.

Career

Willis E. Lamb joined the faculty of the physics department in ‘Columbia University’ in 1938 as an ‘Instructor in Physics’. He became an ‘Associate’ in 1943, an ‘Assistant Professor’ in 1945, an ‘Associate Professor’ in 1947 and a full Professor in 1948.

During the Second World War he worked at the ‘Columbia University Radiation Laboratory’ from 1943 to 1951 on how to make sources for radar which could produce shorter microwaves at higher frequencies. This work helped him win the Nobel Prize later.

In April,1947, he carried out an experiment with which he was able to discover the shift in the energy levels of a hydrogen atom which later came to be known as ‘the Lamb shift’.

He taught atomic spectroscopy as a ‘Professor of Physics’ at the ‘University of Stanford’ from 1951 to 1956.

He also served as a ‘Morris Loeb Lecturer’ at the ‘Harvard University’ from 1953 to 1954.

He served as a ‘Wykeham Professor of Physics’ and Fellow of ‘New College’ at the ‘University of Oxford’ in England from 1956 to 1962.

He joined the ‘Yale University’ as a ‘Henry Ford II Professor of Physics in 1962 and became a ‘J. Willard Gibbs Professor of Physics in 1972. He held that post till 1974.

He joined the ‘University of Arizona Optical Sciences Center’ in 1974 and became a ‘Regent’s Professor of Physics and Optical Sciences’ in 1990.

He worked from his office in the ‘University of Arizona’ campus after retiring from active teaching at the university in 2002.

Major Works

Williams E. Lamb wrote a series of papers which were published in the journal ‘Physical Review’ from 1947 to 1953. These papers were regarded as classics by atomic scientists all over the world.

Awards & Achievements

Williams E. Lamb received the ‘Rumford Premium Award’ from the ‘American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ in 1953.

An honorary D.Sc. degree was conferred upon him by the ‘University of Pennsylvania’ in 1954.

He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1955 and the ‘Research Corporation Award’ in the same year.

He received ‘Einstein Medal’ from the ‘Society for Optical and Quantum Electronics’ in 1992.

He received the ‘Guthrie Award’ from the ‘Physical Society of London’.

He was elected to the ‘National Academy of Sciences’ and was made an ‘Honorary Member’ of the ‘Optical Society of America’ in 1999.

He was also made a ‘Fellow of the American Physical Society’ and a ‘Foreign Member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’.

He received the ‘National Medal of Science’, the highest national honor for scientific work, in 2000.

He held honorary degrees from the ‘Oxford University’, the ‘Yale University’, the ‘Yeshiva University’, the ‘Gustavus Adolphus College’ and the ‘Columbia University’.

Personal Life & Legacy

He married Ursula Schaefer, a German student of history associated with the ‘University of Arizona’, in 1939.

After the death of Ursula in 1996, he married Bruria Kaufman, an Israeli physicist whom he had met in Columbia in 1941, in the same year and divorced her later.

His third marriage was with Elsie Wattson on January 26, 2008 whom he had met 27 years ago. He did not have any children from any of these marriages.

Willis Eugene Lamb died of complications due to gallstones at the University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, USA on May 15, 2008 at the age of 94.

The ‘Willis E. Lamb Award’ for ‘Laser Science and Quantum Optics’ was initiated by the ‘Physics of Quantum Electronics (PQE)’ in 1998 and is presented annually to scientists for their outstanding contributions to the field of quantum theory.

Trivia

Willis E. Lamb was described by another UA physicist William A. Wing as ‘one of the rare physicists who goes on and on, just keeps on exploring throughout his career’. His colleagues found his work ethic inspiring and called him ‘a real giant in his field’.

// Famous Physicists

Willis Lamb awards

YearNameAward

Other

Nobel Prize in Physics (1955)

Willis Lamb biography timelines

  • // 12th Jul 1913
    Willis E. Lamb was born in Los Angeles, California, USA on July 12, 1913. His father, Willis Eugene was a telephone engineer and his mother was Marie Helen Metcalfe.
  • // 1930 To 1934
    He enrolled at the ‘University of California’ in Berkeley in 1930 and received a B.S. bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the university in 1934.
  • // 1938
    Lamb received his doctorate from the ‘University of California’ in Berkeley in 1938 for his dissertation related to the electromagnetic properties of nuclear systems.
  • // 1939
    He married Ursula Schaefer, a German student of history associated with the ‘University of Arizona’, in 1939.
  • // 1943 To 1951
    During the Second World War he worked at the ‘Columbia University Radiation Laboratory’ from 1943 to 1951 on how to make sources for radar which could produce shorter microwaves at higher frequencies. This work helped him win the Nobel Prize later.
  • // 1947
    In April,1947, he carried out an experiment with which he was able to discover the shift in the energy levels of a hydrogen atom which later came to be known as ‘the Lamb shift’.
  • // 1947 To 1953
    Williams E. Lamb wrote a series of papers which were published in the journal ‘Physical Review’ from 1947 to 1953. These papers were regarded as classics by atomic scientists all over the world.
  • // 1951 To 1956
    He taught atomic spectroscopy as a ‘Professor of Physics’ at the ‘University of Stanford’ from 1951 to 1956.
  • // 1953 To 1954
    He also served as a ‘Morris Loeb Lecturer’ at the ‘Harvard University’ from 1953 to 1954.
  • // 1953
    Williams E. Lamb received the ‘Rumford Premium Award’ from the ‘American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ in 1953.
  • // 1954
    An honorary D.Sc. degree was conferred upon him by the ‘University of Pennsylvania’ in 1954.
  • // 1955
    He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1955 and the ‘Research Corporation Award’ in the same year.
  • // 1956 To 1962
    He served as a ‘Wykeham Professor of Physics’ and Fellow of ‘New College’ at the ‘University of Oxford’ in England from 1956 to 1962.
  • // 1974 To 1990
    He joined the ‘University of Arizona Optical Sciences Center’ in 1974 and became a ‘Regent’s Professor of Physics and Optical Sciences’ in 1990.
  • // 1992
    He received ‘Einstein Medal’ from the ‘Society for Optical and Quantum Electronics’ in 1992.
  • // 1996
    After the death of Ursula in 1996, he married Bruria Kaufman, an Israeli physicist whom he had met in Columbia in 1941, in the same year and divorced her later.
  • // 1998
    The ‘Willis E. Lamb Award’ for ‘Laser Science and Quantum Optics’ was initiated by the ‘Physics of Quantum Electronics (PQE)’ in 1998 and is presented annually to scientists for their outstanding contributions to the field of quantum theory.
  • // 1999
    He was elected to the ‘National Academy of Sciences’ and was made an ‘Honorary Member’ of the ‘Optical Society of America’ in 1999.
  • // 2000
    He received the ‘National Medal of Science’, the highest national honor for scientific work, in 2000.
  • // 2002
    He worked from his office in the ‘University of Arizona’ campus after retiring from active teaching at the university in 2002.
  • // 26th Jan 2008
    His third marriage was with Elsie Wattson on January 26, 2008 whom he had met 27 years ago. He did not have any children from any of these marriages.
  • // 15th May 2008
    Willis Eugene Lamb died of complications due to gallstones at the University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, USA on May 15, 2008 at the age of 94.

// Cancer Celebrities

Willis Lamb's FAQ

  • What is Willis Lamb birthday?

    Willis Lamb was born at 1913-07-12

  • When was Willis Lamb died?

    Willis Lamb was died at 2008-05-15

  • Where was Willis Lamb died?

    Willis Lamb was died in Tucson, Arizona, U.S.

  • Which age was Willis Lamb died?

    Willis Lamb was died at age 94

  • Where is Willis Lamb's birth place?

    Willis Lamb was born in Los Angeles, California, U.S.

  • What is Willis Lamb nationalities?

    Willis Lamb's nationalities is American

  • Who is Willis Lamb siblings?

    Willis Lamb's siblings is Perry

  • What was Willis Lamb universities?

    Willis Lamb studied at University Of California, Berkeley, University of California, Berkeley

  • What was Willis Lamb notable alumnis?

    Willis Lamb's notable alumnis is University Of California, Berkeley

  • What is Willis Lamb's inventions/discoveries?

    Lamb Shift, Laser Theory, Quantum Optics was invented (or discovered) by Willis Lamb

  • Who is Willis Lamb's father?

    Willis Lamb's father is Willis Eugene Lamb

  • Who is Willis Lamb's mother?

    Willis Lamb's mother is Marie Helen Metcalfe

  • What is Willis Lamb's sun sign?

    Willis Lamb is Cancer

  • How famous is Willis Lamb?

    Willis Lamb is famouse as Physicist