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Physicists

  • McNutt, Marcia K. Featured Article McNutt, Marcia K. McNutt, Marcia K.

    Director Marcia K. McNutt, is a distinguished scientist and administrator and the first woman director of the USGS in its 130-year history. Dr. McNutt previously served as... More »

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McNutt, Marcia K. Last Updated on 2010-12-22 00:00:00 Director Marcia K. McNutt, is a distinguished scientist and administrator and the first woman director of the USGS in its 130-year history. Dr. McNutt previously served as president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), in Moss Landing, CA. As a scientist, Dr. McNutt has participated in 15 major oceanographic expeditions and served as chief scientist on more than half of those voyages. She has published 90 peer-reviewed scientific articles. Her research has ranged from studies of ocean island volcanism in French Polynesia to continental break-up in the Western United States to uplift of the Tibet Plateau. McNutt received a BA degree in Physics, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Colorado College in Colorado Springs. As a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, she studied geophysics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography... More »
Hansen, James E. Last Updated on 2009-02-02 20:16:16 James E. Hansen (1941- ) is an American physicist known for his research in the field of climatology and his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the climate change issue. Hansen heads the NASA Institute for Space Studies in New York City, which is a division of Goddard Space Flight Center's (Greenbelt, MD), Earth Sciences Directorate. He is currently an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, and also serves as Al Gore's science advisor. Hansen was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1996 and he received the Heinz Environment Award for his research on global warming in 2001. He was listed as one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the Time 100 (2006) list and, in 2007, he was awarded the Dan David Prize. On April... More »
Curie, Marie Sklodowska Last Updated on 2008-08-24 00:00:00 Introduction Marie Sklodowska Curie (1867–1934) was the first person ever to receive two Nobel Prizes: the first in 1903 in physics, shared with her husband Pierre and Henri Becquerel for the discovery of the phenomenon of radioactivity; and the second in 1911 in chemistry for the discovery of the radioactive elements polonium and radium. The daughter of impoverished Polish schoolteachers, Marie worked as a governess in Poland to support her older sister in Paris, whom she eventually joined. Already entranced with chemistry, Marie took advanced scientific degrees at the Sorbonne, where she met and married Pierre Curie, a physicist who had achieved fame for his work on the piezoelectric effect. For her thesis she chose to work in a field just opened up by Wilhelm Roentgen's discovery of X-rays and Becquerel's observation of the mysterious power of samples of... More »
Curie, Pierre Last Updated on 2007-08-15 00:00:00 Pierre Curie (1859-1906), French physicist best known for his work with radioactivity. In 1898, Pierre Curie and his wife Marie presented evidence for the discovery of an additional, very active substance that behaved chemically almost like pure barium. They suggested the name 'radium' for the new element, and henceforth were identified with the discovery of radiation. For this discovery, the Curies were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1903, which they shared with Henri Becquerel. Pierre also discovered the effect of temperature on paramagnetism, which is now known as Curie's law. Moreover, he proved that ferromagnetic substances exhibited a critical temperature transition, above which the substances lost their ferromagnetic behavior; this is now known as the Curie point. With his brother Jacques, he discovered the piezoelectric effect, through which crystals acquire a charge... More »
Gell-Mann, Murray Last Updated on 2006-09-06 00:00:00 Murray Gell-Mann (1929-), an American physicist, won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1969 for his work pertaining to the classification of subatomic particles and their interactions. In 1961, Gell-Mann and Yuval Ne'eman, an Israeli theoretical physicist, independently proposed a scheme for classifying previously discovered strongly interacting particles into a simple, orderly arrangement of families. While studying particles, he found general characteristics that allowed him to sort them into eight "families." He called this grouping the “eightfold way”, referring to Buddhist philosophy's eight attributes of right living. Gell-Mann then discovered that the eightfold way could be explained by a particle, undiscovered as yet, that had three parts (hadrons), each holding a fraction of a charge. He called them "quarks," which is a term from a passage in... More »