Purcell's Nobel Prize Winning Work May Aid Advance of Atomic Theory
Edward M. Purcell, professor of Physics, told Swedish scientists and newsmen yesterday that his newly developed methods for measuring the magnetic fields of atomic nuclei would contribute to the creation of a better atomic theory.
Purcell will receive the Nobel Prize Wednesday for his discoveries in physics.
"The structure of atomic nuclei is far more complicated than we imagined 15 years ago," he said. "The atomic theory we have today is not a very good one. But when we get a better atomic theory, which I believe we will one day, we will also have a method to check it."
Purcell shares this year's physics award with Felix Bloch, professor of Physics at Stanford. Both simultaneously developed field measuring devices.
The method developed by Purcell and his group here will enable scientists to obtain new information on the structure of atomic nuclei, by measuring the very weak radio electromagnetic waves emit- ted by spinning sub atomic particles.
Purcell's equipment, however operates on ordinary short wave radio frequencies and looks like a radio transmitter.
"This measurement method," he said, "Is a serve test of the actual structure of the nucleus. Its extreme precision allow us to test nuclear theory and to do it quite accurately."
Purcell and his association here are currently using the new technology to study the properties of hydrogen in the solid state, achieved by cooling the gas down to temperature near absolute sera under pressure. Hydrogen is being used because the hydrogen atom is the simplest of all the elements