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German physicist, b. 1864, d. 1928. Studied mathematics and natural sciences at both the University of Göttingen and the University of Berlin. Worked under Hermann von Helmholtz, and received his Ph. D. in 1886. His early research focused on the reflection and refraction of light.

Wien worked at the Aix-la-Chapelle (succeeding Philipp Lenard), the University of Giessen, and the University of Würzburg earlier in his career. In 1920, he was appointed as a professor in Munich, where he remained throughout the rest of his career.

His research interests, in addition to those mentioned above, included the measurement of high temperatures using thermoelements and theoretical work concerning radiation of heat. His work in thermodynamics led him to the definition of a black body. This work assisted Max Planck in determining the quantum mechanical properties of black body raditaion. Wien also did work on cathode rays and canal rays.

He was awarded the 1911 Nobel Prize in physics

"for his discoveries regarding the laws governing the radiation of heat"

Back to Nobel Prizes: Physics

Researched on www.nobel.se

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