Edward Mills Purcell

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Purcell, Edward Mills


Born Aug. 30, 1912, in Taylorville, 111. American physicist.

Purcell studied at Purdue and Harvard universities. From 1941 to 1945 he worked at the radiation laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since 1938 he has taught at Harvard University, where he has been a professor since 1949. In 1952, Purcell shared a Nobel Prize with F. Bloch for the discovery in 1946 of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in solids. He showed that NMR can be used to detect the nuclear magnetic moment. This work laid the foundation for NMR spectroscopy. In 1951, Purcell and H. I. Ewen detected the 21-cm line of interstellar hydrogen.


“Observation of a Line in the Galactic Radio Spectrum.” Nature. 1951, vol. 168, no. 4270, p. 356.
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