Wilhelm Wien Biography
(Nobel Laureate in Physics)
Birthday: January 13, 1864 (Capricorn)
Born In: Gaffken near Fischhausen, Province of Prussia
Wilhelm Wien was a German physicist who won Nobel Prize in Physics for his groundbreaking work in thermal radiation. He is best known for Wien's displacement law of blackbody radiation and the Wien's distribution law (also known as the Wien approximation). Regardless of the fact that he received his early education at home and was expelled from his first school for poor academics, he performed pioneering work in the field of physics. After completing his doctoral degree under the guidance of the eminent physicist, Herman Helmholtz, he became his assistant and over a period of time served as a professor of physics at prestigious universities. He conducted trailblazing research in the field of thermal radiation and proposed laws defining the wavelength-temperature relation of a body. He also defined a blackbody—a body that appears black because it absorbs all radiation and radiates heat. He was instrumental in formulating an expression for the blackbody radiation which is correct in the photon-gas limit. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his displacement law concerning the radiation emitted by the perfectly efficient blackbody. He also made significant contributions to the study of cathode rays, X-rays and canal rays (positively charged atomic beams). His remarkable discoveries played a vital role in the development of quantum mechanics.