Famous Swiss Physicists

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Switzerland may be known to the world as the ‘heavenly abode’ of mankind but not many know that just like its jaw-dropping beauty and eye-catching landscape, this scenic and picturesque country is also famous for its talented nationals. There have been numerous Swiss personalities who have relentlessly worked for the benefit of mankind in their own fields. Switzerland has produced some of the world’s best scientists, novelists, writers, mathematicians, physicians and so on. Often while talking about the world’s most learned men, we mention Albert Einstein as the supreme of them all. But did you know that this famous physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the pillars of modern physics, was a Swiss? Such was his greatness that till date he is widely regarded as the most influential man of all times and greatest legend to have ever lived on earth. Other famous Swiss physicists who are remembered for their services to theoretical physics include Daniel Bernoulli, Charles Edouard Guillaume, Auguste Piccard, Alfred Kleiner, Aime Argand and so on. With this segment, find out more about famous Swiss physicists, their life, profile and works.
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 1 
Leonhard Euler
(Mathematician, Physicist)
Leonhard Euler
6
Birthdate: April 15, 1707
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Basel
Died: September 18, 1783

Leonhard Euler was a Swiss physicist, mathematician, logician, geographer, astronomer, and engineer. He is credited with making influential and important mathematical discoveries, such as graph theory and infinitesimal calculus. Widely regarded as one of the greatest and most prolific mathematicians of all time, Leonhard Euler also made pioneering contributions to analytic number theory and topology.

 2 
Bernhard Caesar Einstein
(Swiss-American Engineer and One of the Three Known Biological Grandchildren of Albert Einstein)
Bernhard Caesar Einstein
9
Birthdate: July 10, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dortmund, Germany
Died: September 30, 2008

Swiss-American physicist and engineer Bernhard Caesar Einstein was better known as the only grandchild of Albert Einstein to have survived beyond childhood. While two of his biological brothers died in infancy, his parents adopted a girl child, too. He grew up to work on night vision and laser technology.

 3 
Daniel Bernoulli
(Mathematician)
Daniel Bernoulli
4
Birthdate: February 8, 1700
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Groningen
Died: March 17, 1782

Daniel Bernoulli was a Swiss physicist and mathematician. Born into the popular Bernoulli family of mathematicians, Daniel Bernoulli is renowned for his applications of mathematical equations to mechanics. He is also remembered for his pioneering work in statistics and probability. In 2002, he was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame.

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 4 
Felix Bloch
(Physicist)
Felix Bloch
3
Birthdate: October 23, 1905
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Zürich
Died: September 10, 1983

Felix Bloch was a Swiss-American physicist who served as the first Director-General of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) from 1954 to 1955. Before joining CERN, Bloch worked on the Manhattan Project during the Second World War after which he started focusing on investigations into nuclear magnetic induction, for which he received the 1952 Nobel Prize in Physics.

 5 
Johann Heinrich Lambert
(Mathematician who Proved that π is Irrational)
Johann Heinrich Lambert
2
Birthdate: August 26, 1728
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mulhouse, France
Died: September 25, 1777

Johann Heinrich Lambert was a Swiss polymath whose contributions to the fields of physics, mathematics, map projections, astronomy, and philosophy are considered important by many scholars. He is credited with introducing hyperbolic functions into trigonometry. He is also credited with inventing a hygrometer, which is used to measure the quantity of water vapor in soil and air.

 6 
Alfred Kleiner
(Physicist)
Alfred Kleiner
3
Birthdate: April 24, 1849
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Maschwanden
Died: July 3, 1916

Swiss physicist Alfred Kleiner is best remembered for his studies on statistical physics. A physics professor at the University of Zurich, he was later also associated with ETH Zurich. He also became the doctoral thesis supervisor of Albert Einstein after Einstein had major differences with his previous advisor, Heinrich F. Weber.

 7 
Gabriel Cramer
(Mathematician, Physicist, University teacher)
Gabriel Cramer
2
Birthdate: July 31, 1704
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Geneva
Died: January 4, 1752

Born to a doctor, Gabriel Cramer showed an interest in math since childhood. He received his doctoral degree at 18 and was named the co-chair of the University of Geneva at 20. Known for his research on algebraic curves, he is also remembered for devising Cramer’s rule and Cramer’s paradox.

 8 
Heinrich Rohrer
(Physicist)
Heinrich Rohrer
2
Birthdate: June 6, 1933
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Buchs, Switzerland
Died: May 16, 2013

Nobel Prize-winning Swiss mathematician Heinrich Rohrer is best remembered for co-designing the scanning tunneling microscope along with fellow Nobel winner Ernst Ruska. He was also associated with the IBM Research laboratory and even conducted research on thermal conductivity at Rutgers University in New Jersey while on his honeymoon in the US.

 9 
Charles Édouard Guillaume
(Discoverer of Invar and Elinvar)
Charles Édouard Guillaume
1
Birthdate: February 15, 1861
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fleurier
Died: May 13, 1938

Born in Switzerland, Charles Édouard Guillaume grew up to win the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the nickel-steel alloys invar and elinva. He also served the International Bureau of Weights and Measures as its director, while his research covered horology and space radiation, too.

 10 
Paul Scherrer
(Physicist)
Paul Scherrer
1
Birthdate: February 3, 1890
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sankt Gallen, Switzerland
Died: September 25, 1969

Marcel Benoist Prize-winning Swiss physicist Paul Scherrer is remembered for coming up with the Debye-Scherrer method of X-ray diffraction analysis along with Dutch-American physicist Peter Debye. He also served ETH Zurich as its HOD of physics and the Swiss Atomic Energy Commission as its president.

 11 
Julia Steinberger
(Writer, Scientist)
Julia Steinberger
1
Birthdate: 1974 AD
Birthplace: Switzerland

A professor of ecological economics and industrial ecology, Julia Steinberger had been associated with the universities of Leeds and Zurich before joining the University of Lausanne. The daughter of Nobel-winning physicist Jack Steinberger, Julia has also led the award-winning research project Living Well Within Limits and supports Greta Thunberg’s climate activism.

 12 
K. Alex Müller
(Swiss Physicist and Winner of 1987 Nobel Prize for Physics)
K. Alex Müller
1
Birthdate: April 20, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland

Nobel Prize-winning physicist K. Alex Müller was the son of a budding musician and was sent to an Evangelical college after his mother’s death. He later joined ETH Zurich and then continued his research at the IBM Research laboratory. He is best known for his joint discovery of superconductivity in ceramic material.

 13 
Horace Bénédict de Saussure
(Genevan Geologist and Physicist Who Developed an Improved Hygrometer to Measure Atmospheric Humidity)
Horace Bénédict de Saussure
1
Birthdate: February 17, 1740
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: January 22, 1799

Apart from being a geologist and physicist, Horace Bénédict de Saussure was also a skilled mountaineer and Alpine explorer. Initially a professor of philosophy and physics, he later became one of the earliest user of the word geology. Of his many inventions, the most prominent was his version of the hygrometer.

 14 
Auguste Arthur de la Rive
0
Birthdate: October 9, 1801
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: November 27, 1873

Born to a prominent Swiss physician and physicist, Auguste Arthur de la Rive initially served as the chair of natural philosophy at the University of Geneva, where his father had worked. He later came to be known for his research on the electrochemical reaction in batteries.