- Category : 1888-births
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Contagion 1
German-born scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1944 for his development of the molecular beam as a tool for studying the characteristics of molecules and for his measurement of the magnetic moment of the proton.
Stern and Walther Gerlach performed their historic molecular-beam experiment at Hamburg in the early 1920s. By shooting a beam of silver atoms through a nonuniform magnetic field onto a glass plate, they found that the beam split into two distinct beams instead of broadening into a continuous band. This experiment verified the space quantization theory, which stated that atoms can align themselves in a magnetic field only in a few directions (two for silver), instead of in any direction, as classical physics had suggested.
In 1933, when the Nazis rose to power, Stern was compelled to leave Germany. He went to the United States, where he became research professor of physics at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh. He remained there until his retirement in 1945.
He died of a heart attack in Berkeley on 17 August 1969.