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London, Fritz (Wolfgang)(1900–54) physicist; born in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland). While a student in Zurich, he published his pioneering quantum theory of chemical bonding (1927); in 1930 his quantum mechanical interpretation of the Van der Waals intramolecular forces made them known as "London forces." Fleeing the Nazis (1933), London and his physicist brother Heinz London went to Oxford where the two developed the London equations on superconductivity (1935). Fritz London came to Duke University (1939), where he continued his contributions to studies of superfluidity and cryogenics (1939–54).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.