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Willis Lamb


Willis Eugene Lamb, Jr. (July 12, 1913May 15, 2008) was a physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1955 "for his discoveries concerning the fine structure of the hydrogen spectrum". Lamb and Polykarp Kusch were able to precisely determine certain electromagnetic properties of the electron. See Lamb shift. Lamb was a professor at the University of Arizona.

Lamb was born in Los Angeles, California, United States and attended Los Angeles High School. First admitted in 1930, he received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1934. For theoretical work on scattering of neutrons by a crystal, guided by J. Robert Oppenheimer, he received the Ph.D. in physics in 1938. Because of limited computational methods available at the time, this research narrowly missed revealing the Mössbauer Effect, 19 years before its recognition by Mössbauer. Lamb was the Wykeham Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford from 1956 to 1962, and also taught at Yale, Columbia and Stanford. Lamb died on May 15, 2008, at the age of 94.

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