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Keywords:

  • History of science;
  • atomic physics;
  • Stern-Gerlach experiment;
  • molecular beams;
  • magnetic dipole moments of nucleons;
  • diffraction of matter waves.

Abstract

We review the work and life of Otto Stern who developed the molecular beam technique and with its aid laid the foundations of experimental atomic physics. Among the key results of his research are: the experimental test of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of molecular velocities (1920), experimental demonstration of space quantization of angular momentum (1922), diffraction of matter waves comprised of atoms and molecules by crystals (1931) and the determination of the magnetic dipole moments of the proton and deuteron (1933).