John Hasbrouck Van Vleck
John Hasbrouck Van Vleck
John Hasbrouck Van Vleck, 1974
|Born||March 13, 1899|
|Died||October 27, 1980 (aged 81)|
|Alma mater||University of Wisconsin-Madison|
|Known for||Van Vleck paramagnetism, Van Vleck transformations, Van Vleck formula|
|Institutions||University of Minnesota|
University of Wisconsin–Madison
University of Oxford
Balliol College, Oxford
|Doctoral advisor||Edwin C. Kemble|
|Doctoral students||Robert Serber|
Edward Mills Purcell
John Hasbrouck Van Vleck (March 13, 1899 – October 27, 1980) was an American physicist and mathematician, co-awarded the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physics, for his contributions to the understanding of the behavior of electrons in magnetic solids.
Education and early life
Born in Middletown, Connecticut, the son of mathematician Edward Burr Van Vleck and grandson of astronomer John Monroe Van Vleck, he grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, and received an A.B. degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1920. Then he went to Harvard for graduate studies and earned a Ph.D degree in 1922.
Career and research
He joined the University of Minnesota as an assistant professor in 1923, then moved to the University of Wisconsin–Madison before settling at Harvard. He also earned Honorary D. Sc., or D. Honoris Causa, degree from Wesleyan University in 1936.
J. H. Van Vleck established the fundamentals of the quantum mechanical theory of magnetism and the crystal field theory (chemical bonding in metal complexes). He is regarded as the Father of Modern Magnetism.
During World War II, J. H. Van Vleck worked on radar at the MIT Radiation Lab. He was half time at the Radiation Lab and half time on the staff at Harvard. He showed that at about 1.25-centimeter wavelength water molecules in the atmosphere would lead to troublesome absorption and that at 0.5-centimeter wavelength there would be a similar absorption by oxygen molecules. This was to have important consequences not just for military (and civil) radar systems but later for the new science of radioastronomy.
J. H. Van Vleck participated in the Manhattan Project. In June 1942, J. Robert Oppenheimer held a summer study for confirming the concept and feasibility of a nuclear weapon at the University of California, Berkeley. Eight theoretical scientists, including J. H. Van Vleck, attended it. From July to September, the theoretical study group examined and developed the principles of atomic bomb design.
J. H. Van Vleck's theoretical work led to the establishment of the Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Laboratory. He also served on the Los Alamos Review committee in 1943. The committee, established by General Leslie Groves, also consisted of W. K. Lewis of MIT, Chairman; E. L. Rose, of Jones & Lamson; E. B. Wilson of Harvard; and Richard C. Tolman, Vice Chairman of NDRC. The committee's important contribution (originating with Rose) was a reduction in the size of the firing gun for the Little Boy atomic bomb, a concept that eliminated additional design weight and sped up production of the bomb for its eventual release over Hiroshima. However, it was not employed for the Fat Man bomb at Nagasaki, which relied on implosion of a plutonium shell to reach critical mass.
In 1950 he became foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1966 and the Lorentz Medal in 1974. For his contributions to the understanding of the behavior of electrons in magnetic solids, Van Vleck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 1977, along with Philip W. Anderson and Sir Nevill Mott. Van Vleck transformations, Van Vleck paramagnetism and Van Vleck formula are named after him.
- The Absorption of Radiation by Multiply Periodic Orbits, and its Relation to the Correspondence Principle and the Rayleigh–Jeans Law. Part I. Some Extensions of the Correspondence Principle, Physical Review, vol. 24, Issue 4, pp. 330–346 (1924)
- The Absorption of Radiation by Multiply Periodic Orbits, and its Relation to the Correspondence Principle and the Rayleigh–Jeans Law. Part II. Calculation of Absorption by Multiply Periodic Orbits, Physical Review, vol. 24, Issue 4, pp. 347–365 (1924)
- Quantum Principles and Line Spectra, (Bulletin of the National Research Council; v. 10, pt 4, no. 54, 1926)
- The Theory of Electric and Magnetic Susceptibilities (Oxford at Clarendon, 1932).
- Quantum Mechanics, The Key to Understanding Magnetism, Nobel Lecture, December 8, 1977
- The Correspondence Principle in the Statistical Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, vol. 14, pp. 178–188 (1928)
Awards and honors
He was awarded the Irving Langmuir Award in 1965, the National Medal of Science in 1966 and elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1967. He was awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal in 1971, the Lorentz Medal in 1974 and the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1977.
J. H. Van Vleck and his wife Abigail were also important art collectors, particularly in the medium of Japanese woodblock prints (principally Ukiyo-e), known as Van Vleck Collection. It was inherited from his father Edward Burr Van Vleck. They donated it to the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin in 1980s.
- Bleaney, B. (1982). "John Hasbrouck Van Vleck. 13 March 1899-27 October 1980". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 28: 627–665. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1982.0024. JSTOR 769913.
- Autobiography, John H. Van Vleck, The Nobel Prize in Physics 1977.
- John H. van Vleck, International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science.
- On the verge of Umdeutung in Minnesota: Van Vleck and the correspondence principle. Part One Archived 2009-05-20 at the Wayback Machine, Anthony Duncan, Michel Janssen; Elsevier Science, 8 May 2007.
- On the verge of Umdeutung in Minnesota: Van Vleck and the correspondence principle. Part Two Archived 2009-05-20 at the Wayback Machine, Anthony Duncan, Michel Janssen; Elsevier Science, 8 May 2007.
- Norman F. Ramsey Oral History (1991)[permanent dead link], NORMAN F. RAMSEY: An Interview Conducted by John Bryant, IEEE History Center, 20 June 1991.
- Oral History Transcript, Interview with John H. Van Vleck by Katherine Sopka at Lyman Laboratory of Physics, 28 January 1977.
- Louis Brown, A radar history of World War II, Institute of Physics Pub., 1999, ISBN 0750306599, pp. 442, 521.
- Van Vleck, J.; Weisskopf, V. (1945). "On the Shape of Collision-Broadened Lines" (PDF). Reviews of Modern Physics. 17 (2–3): 227. Bibcode:1945RvMP...17..227V. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.17.227. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-15.
- New Weapons Laboratory Gives Birth to the "Gadget", 50th Anniversary Article, Los Alamos National Laboratory.
- Berkeley Summer Study Group, The Atomic Heritage Foundation.
- Atomic History Timeline 1900– 1942 , The Atomic Heritage Foundation.
- "Oversight Committee Formed as Lab Begins Research – 50th Anniversary Article, Los Alamos National Laboratory".
- Leslie R. Groves, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army, Retired; Now It Can Be Told, Harper, 1962, pp. 162–63.
- Nobel Laureates Archived 2013-10-20 at the Wayback Machine, University of Oxford.
- Inspiring minds: the Eastman Professors, Floreat Domus, Balliol College News, Issue 12, June 2006.
- "John Hasbrouck van Vleck (1899–1980)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- "The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details". National Science Foundation.
- "The Lorentz medal". Lorentz.leidenuniv.nl. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1977". Nobelprize.org. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- C.), Gutzwiller, M. C. (Martin. Chaos in classical and quantum mechanics. New York. ISBN 1461209838. OCLC 883391909.
- "John Van Vleck, Nobel Laureate Known for Work on Magnetism; Earned Three Degree". The New York Times. October 28, 1980. p. A32.
- E. B. Van Vleck Collection Archived 2008-10-06 at the Wayback Machine, Chazen Museum of Art
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Hasbrouck Van Vleck.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: John Hasbrouck Van Vleck|
- The Theory of Electric and Magnetic Susceptibilities
- John Hasbrouck van Vleck
- Duncan, Anthony and Janssen, Michel. "On the verge of Undeutung in Minnesota: Van Vleck and the correspondence principle. Part one," Archive for History of Exact Sciences 2007, 61:6, pages 553–624. 
- Chazen Museum of Art
- Oral history interview transcript with John Hasbrouck Van Vleck 14 October 1963, American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library & Archives
- Oral history interview transcript with John Hasbrouck Van Vleck 28 February 1966, American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library & Archives
- Oral history interview transcript with John Hasbrouck Van Vleck 28 January 1977, American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library & Archives
Percy Williams Bridgman
| Hollis Chair of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy