Bloembergen in 1981
March 11, 1920|
|Institutions||University of Arizona|
University of Utrecht
|Doctoral advisor||Cornelis Jacobus Gorter|
|Other academic advisors||Edward Purcell|
|Known for||Laser spectroscopy|
Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize (1958)|
Stuart Ballantine Medal (1961)
National Medal of Science (1974)
Lorentz Medal (1978)
Nobel Prize in Physics (1981)
IEEE Medal of Honor (1983)
Dirac Medal (1983)
Bloembergen was born in Dordrecht on March 11, 1920, where his father was a chemical engineer and executive. He had five siblings, with his brother Auke later becoming a legal scholar. In 1938, Bloembergen entered the University of Utrecht to study physics. However, during World War II, the German authorities closed the University and Bloembergen spent two years in hiding.
Bloembergen left the war-ravaged Netherlands in 1945 to pursue graduate studies at Harvard University under Professor Edward Mills Purcell. Six weeks before his arrival, Purcell and his graduate students Torrey and Pound discovered nuclear magnetic resonance. Bloembergen was hired to develop the first NMR machine. At Harvard he attended lectures by Schwinger, Van Vleck, and Kemble.
While studying at Harvard, Bloembergen also worked part-time as a graduate research assistant for Purcell at the MIT Radiation Laboratory.
Bloembergen returned to the Netherlands in 1947, and submitted his thesis Nuclear Magnetic Relaxation at the University of Leiden. This was because he had completed all the preliminary examinations in the Netherlands, and Cor Gorter of Leiden offered him a postdoctoral appointment there. He received his Ph.D. degree from Leiden in 1948, and then was a postdoc at Leiden for about a year.
In 1949, he returned to Harvard as a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows. In 1951, he became an Associate Professor. He became Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics in 1957; Rumford Professor of Physics in 1974; and Gerhard Gade University Professor in 1980. In 1990 he retired from Harvard.
In 1996-1997, Bloembergen was a Visiting Scientist at the College of Optical Sciences of the University of Arizona; he became a Professor at Arizona in 2001.
He was awarded the Lorentz Medal in 1978. Bloembergen shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Arthur Schawlow and Kai Siegbahn for their work in laser spectroscopy. Bloembergen and Schawlow investigated properties of matter undetectable without lasers. He had earlier modified the maser of Charles Townes.
Bloembergen is part of the prolific academic lineage tree of J. J. Thomson, which includes many other Nobel Laureates, beginning with Thomson himself (Physics Nobel, 1906) and Lord Rayleigh (Physics Nobel, 1904), Ernest Rutherford (Chemistry Nobel 1908), Owen Richardson (Physics Nobel, 1928), and finally Bloembergen's advisor, Edward Purcell (Physics, Nobel 1952). Bloembergen's other influences include John Van Vleck (Physics Nobel, 1977) and Percy Bridgman (Physics Nobel, 1946).
- Corresponding member, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, 1956
- Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1956
- Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., 1960
- Foreign Honorary Member, Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore, 1978
- Associé Étranger, Académie des Sciences, Paris, 1981
- Guggenheim Fellow, 1957
- Oliver Buckley Prize, American Physical Society, 1958
- IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award, Institute of Radio Engineers, 1959
- Stuart Ballantine Medal, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, 1961
- National Medal of Science, President of the United States of America, 1974
- Lorentz Medal, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, 1978
- Frederic Ives Medal, Optical Society of America, 1979
- Von Humboldt Senior Scientist, 1980
- Member Emeritus, United States National Academy of Engineering, 1984
- Nobel Foundation Nicolaas Bloembergen
- Rob Herber. "Nico Bloembergen, fysicus in licht" (PDF) (in Dutch). Historische Kring De Bilt. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "Nicolaas Bloembergen". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- OSC Faculty Nicolaas Bloembergen
- World Scientific. Journal of Nonlinear Optical Physics & Materials. Journal Editorial Board.
- "Nico Bloembergen". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- "Professor Nicolaas Bloembergen". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "Nicolaas Bloembergen". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "Bloembergen, Prof. Nicolaas". Indian Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "Nicolaas Bloembergen". Académie des Sciences. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "Nicolaas Bloembergen". Guggenheim Foundation. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "1958 Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Physics Prize Recipient". American Physical Society. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details Nicolaas Bloembergen". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "Laureates Lorentz Medal". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- "Dr. Nicolaas Bloembergen". United States National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
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- Freeview video 'An Interview with Nicolaas Bloembergen' by the Vega Science Trust
- Nicolaas Bloembergen
- their contribution to the development of laser spectroscopy
- Oral History interview transcript with Nicolaas Bloembergen 27 June 1983, American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library and Archives