Person: Alfvén, Hannes
Hannes Olof Gösta Alfvén was a Swedish electrical engineer, plasma physicist and winner of a Nobel Prize in Physics.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- After graduating from the High School, Alfvén studied mathematics and physics at the University of Uppsala, beginning his undergraduate studies in 1926.
- Having been awarded his doctorate, Alfvén was appointed a docent in physics at both the University of Uppsala and the Nobel Institute for Physics in Stockholm.
- In 1967 Alfvén spoke out against difficulties he was experiencing obtaining financial support from Sweden for projects on peaceful uses of thermonuclear energy.
- Despite making remarkable contributions to an understanding of the structure of the universe, Alfvén's ideas have proved controversial.
- Alfvén's discovery of hydromagnetic waves in 1942 took less time to become accepted as correct.
- Perhaps the greatest difficulty encountered by Alfvén, however, was due to the firm rejection of his ideas by Sydney Chapman who was at the time the acknowledged leader in space physics.
- Alfvén was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1970.
- In particular, Alfvén discovered the existence of hitherto unsuspected magneto-hydrodynamical waves, the so-called Alfvén waves.
- In cosmic physics, Alfvén's fundamental contribution has been the introduction of the magnetic field of force and the application of magneto-hydrodynamics.
- Alfvén also received a large number of other prestigious awards such as the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1967), the Lomonosov Medal of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1971), The Gold Medal of the Franklin Institute (1971), the Bowie Gold Medal of the American Geophysical Union (1988), and the Dirac Medal of the Australian Institute of Physics.
- One result of these interests was a series of books that Hannes wrote, some together with Kerstin.
- When nuclear power first became a possibility, Alfvén supported its development for commercial use.
- However, within a few years, when disadvantages emerged, Alfvén became a vigorous opponent.
Born 20 May 1908, Norrköping, Sweden. Died 2 April 1995, Djursholm, Sweden.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
Astronomy, Origin Sweden
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive