- This page addresses only the Swiss physicist, for the man accused of espionage see Felix Bloch (diplomatic officer)
Felix Bloch (October 23, 1905 – September 10, 1983) was a Swiss - American Jewish physicist, working mainly in the U.S..
Life and work
Bloch was born in Zürich
to Jewish parents Gustav and Agnes Bloch. He was educated there and at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule
, also in Zürich. Initially studying engineering he soon changed to physics
. During this time he attended lectures and seminars given by Peter Debye
and Hermann Weyl
at ETH Zürich and Erwin Schroedinger
at the neighboring University of Zürich
. A fellow student in these seminars was John von Neumann
. Graduating in 1927 he continued his physics studies at the University of Leipzig
with Werner Heisenberg
, gaining his doctorate in 1928. He remained in European academia, studying with Wolfgang Pauli
in Zürich, Niels Bohr
and Enrico Fermi
before he went back to Leipzig assuming a position as privatdozent (lecturer). In 1933, immediately after Hitler came to power, he left Germany
, emigrating to work at Stanford University
in 1934, where he became the first professor for theoretical physics. In 1939, he became a naturalized citizen
of the United States
. During WW II
he worked on atomic energy
at Los Alamos National Laboratory
, before resigning to join the radar
project at Harvard University
After the war he concentrated on investigations into nuclear induction and nuclear magnetic resonance, which are the underlying principles of MRI. In 1946 he proposed the Bloch equations which determine the time evolution of nuclear magnetization. He and Edward Mills Purcell were awarded the 1952 Nobel Prize for "their development of new ways and methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements." In 1954–1955, he served for one year as the first Director-General of CERN. In 1961, he was made Max Stein Professor of Physics at Stanford University.
- Physics Today 1984, 37(3), pp. 115-116.
- Nature 1952, 170, pp. 911-912.
- Nature 1954, 174, pp. 774-775.
- McGraw-Hill Modern Men of Science, McGraw-Hill, 1966, vol. 1, pp. 45-46.
- National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, James T. White & Co., 1921-1984, vol. I, pp. 310-312.