Edward Mills Purcell
|Born||August 30, 1912|
Taylorville, Illinois, United States
|Died||March 7, 1997 (aged 84)|
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
|Alma mater||Purdue University (BSEE) |
Harvard University (M.A.)
Harvard University (Ph.D)
|Known for||Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)|
21 cm line
|Awards||Nobel Prize for Physics (1952)|
Oersted Medal (1967)
National Medal of Science (1979)
Max Delbruck Prize (1984)
Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize (1988)
|Thesis||The Focusing of Charges Particles by a Spherical Condenser (1938)|
|Doctoral advisor||Kenneth Bainbridge|
|Other academic advisors||John Van Vleck|
|Doctoral students||George Pake|
Charles Pence Slichter
|Other notable students||Nicolaas Bloembergen|
Edward Mills Purcell (August 30, 1912 – March 7, 1997) was an American physicist who shared the 1952 Nobel Prize for Physics for his independent discovery (published 1946) of nuclear magnetic resonance in liquids and in solids. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) has become widely used to study the molecular structure of pure materials and the composition of mixtures. Friends and colleagues knew him as Ed Purcell.
Born and raised in Taylorville, Illinois, Purcell received his BSEE in electrical engineering from Purdue University, followed by his M.A. and Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University. He was a member of the Alpha Xi chapter of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity while at Purdue. After spending the years of World War II working at the MIT Radiation Laboratory on the development of microwave radar, Purcell returned to Harvard to do research. In December 1946, he discovered nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) with his colleagues Robert Pound and Henry Torrey. NMR provides scientists with an elegant and precise way of determining chemical structure and properties of materials, and is widely used in physics and chemistry. It also is the basis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), one of the most important medical advances of the 20th century. For his discovery of NMR, Purcell shared the 1952 Nobel Prize in physics with Felix Bloch of Stanford University.
Purcell also made contributions to astronomy as the first to detect radio emissions from neutral galactic hydrogen (the famous 21 cm line due to hyperfine splitting), affording the first views of the spiral arms of the Milky Way. This observation helped launch the field of radio astronomy, and measurements of the 21 cm line are still an important technique in modern astronomy. He has also made seminal contributions to solid state physics, with studies of spin-echo relaxation, nuclear magnetic relaxation, and negative spin temperature (important in the development of the laser). With Norman F. Ramsey, he was the first to question the CP symmetry of particle physics.
Purcell was the recipient of many awards for his scientific, educational, and civic work. He served as science advisor to Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson. He was president of the American Physical Society, and a member of the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1979, and the Jansky Lectureship before the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Purcell was also inducted into his Fraternity's (Phi Kappa Sigma) Hall of Fame as the first Phi Kap ever to receive a Nobel Prize.
Purcell was the author of the innovative introductory text Electricity and Magnetism. The book, a Sputnik-era project funded by an NSF grant, was influential for its use of relativity in the presentation of the subject at this level. The 1965 edition, now freely available due to a condition of the federal grant, was originally published as a volume of the Berkeley Physics Course. The book is also in print as a commercial third edition, as Purcell and Morin. Purcell is also remembered by biologists for his famous lecture "Life at Low Reynolds Number", in which he explained forces and effects dominating in limiting flow regimes (often at the micro scale). He also emphasized the time-reversibility of low Reynolds number flows with a principle referred to as the Scallop theorem.
- "E. M. Purcell - Biography". The Nobel Prize in Physics 1952 Felix Bloch, E. M. Purcell. The Nobel Foundation. 1952. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- Bleaney, B. (1999). "Edward Mills Purcell. 30 August 1912 -- 7 March 1997: Elected For.Mem.R.S. 1989". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 45: 437–447. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1999.0029.
- "Famous Phi Kappa Sigma's - Famous Fraternity & Sorority Greeks - Greek 101". greek101.com.
- Purcell, E.; Torrey, H.; Pound, R. (1946). "Resonance Absorption by Nuclear Magnetic Moments in a Solid". Physical Review. 69 (1–2): 37–38. Bibcode:1946PhRv...69...37P. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.69.37.
- Ewen, H. I.; Purcell, E. M. (1951). "Observation of a Line in the Galactic Radio Spectrum: Radiation from Galactic Hydrogen at 1,420 Mc./sec". Nature. 168 (4270): 356. Bibcode:1951Natur.168..356E. doi:10.1038/168356a0. S2CID 27595927.
- Purcell, Edward M.; Morin, David J. (2013-01-21). Electricity and Magnetism. ISBN 9781107014022.
- Purcell, E. M. (1977). "Life at low Reynolds number" (PDF). American Journal of Physics. 45 (1): 3–11. Bibcode:1977AmJPh..45....3P. doi:10.1119/1.10903. hdl:2433/226838.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Edward Purcell.|
- Martin Sherwin. "Edward Purcell's Interview". Voices of the Manhattan Project. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
- "Edward Mills Purcell". www.nobel-winners.com. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
- "Edward Purcell". American Institute of Physics Oral History Interviews. 2015-04-06 [1976-11-23]. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
- "Edward Purcell - Session I". American Institute of Physics Oral History Interviews. 2015-04-06 [1977-6-8]. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
- "Edward Purcell - Session II". American Institute of Physics Oral History Interviews. 2015-04-06 [1977-06-14]. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
- Edward Mills Purcell at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- E. M. Purcell on Nobelprize.org
- Ramsey, Norman F. (1999). "Edward Mills Purcell (30 August 1912-7 March 1997)". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 143 (3): 481–483. ISSN 0003-049X. JSTOR 3181961.
- Crane, H. R. (1997-08-01). "Edward M. Purcell: Oersted Medalist for 1967 [Reprinted from Am. J. Phys. 35 (6), 479–480 (1967)]". American Journal of Physics. 65 (8): 691. Bibcode:1997AmJPh..65..691C. doi:10.1119/1.18783. ISSN 0002-9505.
- Rigden, John S. (2011-03-01). "Edward Mills Purcell, August 30, 1912–March 7, 1997". Physics in Perspective. 13 (1): 91–103. Bibcode:2011PhP....13...91R. doi:10.1007/s00016-010-0042-5. ISSN 1422-6960. S2CID 121462862.
- Nityananda, Rajaram (2015-11-01). "Edward Mills Purcell (1912–1997)". Resonance. 20 (11): 959–962. doi:10.1007/s12045-015-0263-7. ISSN 0973-712X. S2CID 124644793.
- Bloembergen, Nicolaas (2014). "Purcell, Edward Mills". In Hockey, Thomas; Trimble, Virginia; Williams, Thomas R.; Bracher, Katherine (eds.). Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. New York, NY: Springer Publishing. pp. 1773–1776. Bibcode:2014bea..book.1773B. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-9917-7_1131. ISBN 978-1-4419-9917-7. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
- Andrew, E. Raymond (1997). "Edward purcell". Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 38 (2): 177–178. doi:10.1002/mrm.1910380202. ISSN 1522-2594. PMID 9304021. S2CID 222020883.
- Bloembergen, Nicolaas (April 1997). "Obituary: Edward M. Purcell (1912–97) Pioneer in nuclear magnetic resonance and in radioastronomy". Nature. 386 (6626): 662. Bibcode:1997Natur.386..662B. doi:10.1038/386662a0. ISSN 1476-4687. S2CID 4322479.
- Shampo, Marc A.; Kyle, Robert A. (1997-06-01). "Edward M. Purcell— Nobel Prize for Magnetic Resonance Imaging". Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 72 (6): 585. doi:10.4065/72.6.585. ISSN 0025-6196. PMID 9179148.
- Romer, Robert H. (1997-08-01). "Editorial: Teaching or research, research or teaching?—Thoughts about Edward M. Purcell". American Journal of Physics. 65 (8): 689–690. Bibcode:1997AmJPh..65..689R. doi:10.1119/1.18654. ISSN 0002-9505.