Michelson, Albert A.

Michelson, Albert A. (Abraham)

(1852–1931) physicist; born in Strelno, Germany (now Strzelno, Poland). His family moved to California when he was two years old. He served in the U.S. Navy, then taught at the Naval Academy (1873–79). After studying in Europe, he taught at several American universities before joining the University of Chicago (1892–1929). The Michelson-Morley experiment (with Western Reserve physicist E. W. Morley) used Michelson's invention, the interferometer, to measure the speed of light in relation to "ether drift." For this and other pioneering work in optical instrumentation, he became the first American scientist to win a Nobel Prize (1907).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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