Nicolaas Bloembergen Biography
Birthday: March 11, 1920 (Pisces)
Born In: Dordrecht, Netherlands
Nicolaas Bloembergen is a Dutch-American physicist who won a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics 1981 for his contribution towards the revolutionary spectroscopic studies of the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matter. He made a pioneering use of lasers in his experiments and performed significant research on nuclear quadrupole interactions in alloys and imperfect ionic crystals. Born in the Netherlands into a large family, he became interested in science at a young age owing to the intellectually stimulating atmosphere he grew up in. His grandfather was a high school principal with a Ph.D. in mathematical physics, and the young boy inherited his aptitude for the subject. As a young man, he entered the University of Utrecht to study physics but the institution was shut down during the World War II. He then went to the United States for his higher studies and eventually settled down there. His initial research was on nuclear magnetic resonance which led him to an interest in masers. He proceeded to build a three-stage crystal maser and also did important work in the development of laser spectroscopy, which allows high-precision observations of atomic structure. It was ultimately his research in nonlinear optics that helped him win the Nobel Prize.