Albert A. Michelson

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Albert A. Michelson

Albert A Michelson

Measurements of the velocity of light used a rapidly rotating, multifaceted mirror to reflect a beam of light.When the speed was correctly adjusted, light reflected from the rotating mirror struck a mirror held in a fixed position and returned to strike the next face on the spinning mirror.

Michelson performed his most famous experiment at Cleveland in collaboration with the chemist Edward W. Morley.Michelson and Morley were able to measure the speed of light by looking for interference fringes between the light which had passed through the two perpendicular arms of their apparatus.

Michelson and Morley were able to measure the speed of light by looking for interference fringes between the light which had passed through the two perpendicular arms of their apparatus.

He developed, as a by-product of his interference experiments, the first spectroscope having sufficiently high resolution to disclose direct optical evidence of molecular motion; gave the scientific world a new fundamental standard of length when he calibrated the international meter in terms of wavelengths of cadmium;

using a variation of his interferometer, became the first man to measure the diameter of a star. He received the Nobel Prize in 1907, the first American to be so honored. He died on May 9, 1931, while at work on a still more refined measurement of the velocity of light.

December 19, 1852 – May 9, 1931


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