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The Effect of Magnetization on the Nature of light Emitted by a Substance.


London, Macmillan & Co, 1896-97. Royal8vo. Bound in contemporary half calf with gilt lettering to spine. In "Nature", Vol. 55, November 1896 - April 1897. Bookplates to front free end-papers and library stamp to title page. Minor wear to extremities, otherwise very fine and clean. P. 347. [Entire volume: XL, 624 pp.]. ¶ First English edition of this landmark paper in which the Zeeman-effect was first announced. It is one of the most important and influential discoveries made in the later half of the 19th century. "The Zeemann effect not only opened a new world of facts which interest the physicist, the chemist, and even the astronomer, but the study also contributed - to an extent much greater than the study of the Stark effect - to the conceptual development of quantum theory" (Jammer). Together with Lorenz, Zeeman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for "the extraordinary service they rendered by their researches into the influence of magnetism upon radiation phenomena".

"The last experiment performed by Michael Faraday was an unsuccessful attempt to observe the influence of a magnetic field on the spectral lines of sodium. More than 30 years later, Pieter Zeeman took up the challenge and observed a broadening of the lines, which was soon recognized to be the splitting that we know as the Zeeman effect. Zeeman's account of the discovery, translated for Nature from the Proceedings of the Physical Society of Berlin, includes an interpretation based on Hendrik Lorentz's idea of "small molecular elements charged with electricity", and a rough calculation of the charge to mass ratio of these "ions"." (Nature Physics Portal).

"Zeeman is best remembered for his observations in 1896 of the mageto-optic phenomenon that almost immediately was named the Zeeman effect. His experimental discovery was not fortuitous, but the fruition of theoretical views that had motivated attempts over a span of thirty-five years to detect some such interaction between magnetism and light. Zeeman's initial observations were beautifully comprehended by H.A.Lorentz' electromagnetic theory, which also served to guide Zeeman in the very early refinement and extension of his discovery. As a result Zeeman and Lorentz shared the 1902 Nobel Prize for physics in recognition of their accomplishment and of the promise, since overwhelmingly fulfilled, of the Zeeman effect for contributing to the understanding of spectra and the particulate structure of matter." (DSB).

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