Van Vleck, John Hasbrouck

Van Vleck, John Hasbrouck,

1899–1980, American physicist, b. Middletown, Conn., Ph.D. Harvard, 1922. As a professor at Harvard, Van Vleck developed fundamental theories on the quantum mechanics of magnetism and on molecular bonding (ligand field theory). For his contributions to the understanding of electrons in magnetic, noncrystalline solids, Van Vleck was awarded the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Philip W. AndersonAnderson, Philip Warren,
1923–2020, American physicist, b. Indianapolis, Ind., Ph.D. Harvard, 1949. After graduation he worked at Bell Laboratories until 1984. From 1967 he also was on the faculty at the Univ.
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 and Sir Nevill MottMott, Sir Nevill,
1905–96, British physicist. A professor at the Univ. of Bristol (1933–54) and the Univ. of Cambridge (1954–71), Mott won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1977 for a lifetime of research into the magnetic and electrical properties of
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Van Vleck, John Hasbrouck


Born Mar. 13, 1899, in Middletown, Conn. American physicist.

Van Vleck studied at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard University. He taught at Harvard in 1922 and 1923 and at the University of Minnesota from 1923 to 1928, becoming a professor in 1927. After holding a professorship at the University of Wisconsin from 1928 to 1934, he returned to Harvard, where he was named a professor in 1935. Van Vleck served as president of the American Physical Society in 1952 and 1953.

Van Vleck’s principal works deal with quantum mechanics, magnetism, and solid-state physics. He made an important contribution to the quantum-mechanical theory of diamagnetism and paramagnetism. In 1927 he discovered the paramagnetism of diamagnetic ions in the singlet state, and in 1941 he applied the molecular field theory for antiferromagnetic substances. His other contributions include a mechanism for spin-lattice relaxation.

Van Vleck received a Nobel Prize in 1977.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.