John G. King (physicist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from John G. King)
Jump to: navigation, search
John G. King
Born 1925
London, England
Died June 15, 2014
Wellfleet, Massachusetts
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Awards Oersted Medal (2000)
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Institutions Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Thesis The hyperfine structure and nuclear moments of the stable bromine isotopes (1953)
Doctoral advisor Jerrold R. Zacharias

John Gordon King (1925–2014[1]) was an English-born American physicist who was the Francis Friedman Professor of Physics (emeritus) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,[2] the former director of MIT’s Molecular Beam Laboratory,[3] and the former associate director of MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics.[4][5]


Best known for his work on null experiments,[6] King was also involved in the Physical Sciences Study Committee (PSSC)[7][8] with his doctoral advisor Jerrold Zacharias. Additionally, he is the inventor of the molecular microscope.[9] He has received the Alfred P. Sloan Award (1956), the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Apparatus Competition prize (1961), the AAPT Robert Millikan Medal (1965), the Danforth Foundation's E. Harris Harbison Award for Gifted Teaching (1971), and most recently the Oersted Medal from the AAPT in 2000.[10][11][12][13][14]

King obtained undergraduate (1950) and graduate degrees (1953) in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and soon after he was appointed to the faculty there.[11] As a young professor, he helped produce and acted in several PSSC educational movies, including Time and Clocks, Interference of Photons, Size of Atoms from an Atomic Beam Experiment, and Velocity of Atoms.[8] King also developed innovative courses such as Concentrated Study, Project Lab,[15] and Corridor Lab,[16] which emphasized hands-on learning, independence of thought, and the scientific method.[3][17]

King’s null experiments included searching for charge equality between the proton and electron, quarks, magnetic monopoles, and a variant of the continuous creation theory of matter proposed by Fred Hoyle, Thomas Gold, and Hermann Bondi.

Selected articles and publications[edit]


  1. ^ Marquard, Bryan (July 6, 2014). "John G. King, 88; MIT professor". Boston Globe. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ "People Directory". MIT. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Bogatin, Eric. "Professor King Honored by Students, Peers". MITnews. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "MIT research lab". MIT. 
  5. ^ "People". King, John G. MIT Museum Collections. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  6. ^ Bogatin, Eric (June 2000). "King of the Null Experiment is Honored". Technology Review. 
  7. ^ King, John G. "Personal Views of the Beginnings of PSSC and My Film Experiences" (PDF). Physical Sciences Study Committee. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Heiney, Paul A. "Movie List". University of Pennsylvania Department of Physics and Astronomy. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  9. ^ US Patent 3790793, John G. King, "Molecular Scanner", issued 2/5/1974, assigned to MIT 
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b O'Kuma, Thomas (January 2001). "American Association of Physics Teachers 2000 Oersted Medalist: John G. King". American Journal of Physics. 69 (1): 10. Bibcode:2001AmJPh..69...10O. doi:10.1119/1.1320437. 
  12. ^ "Oersted Medal". American Association of Physics Teachers. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  13. ^ "John G King". Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "Oerstaed and Richtmeyer Memorial Lecture". AAPT Awards. Retrieved 15 July 2011. 
  15. ^ King, John (26 May 1966). "On Physics Project Laboratories". Robert A. Millikan Lecture. MIT. 2. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  16. ^ "Corridor Lab". Edgerton Center. MIT. 
  17. ^ French, Anthony P. "Physics Education at MIT: From Bell's Phonautograph to Technology Enhanced Active Learning" (PDF). Retrieved 15 July 2011.