Physics Tells Why: An Explanation of Some Common Physical Phenomena

Physics Tells Why: An Explanation of Some Common Physical Phenomena

Physics Tells Why: An Explanation of Some Common Physical Phenomena

Physics Tells Why: An Explanation of Some Common Physical Phenomena

Excerpt

In 1927, the undersigned gave a laboratory course for advanced Physics students in which the students were assigned small research problems. To one member of this class, noted for an exceptionally high scholastic average, there was assigned a clever but by no means simple problem on the recombination of gaseous ions, suggested by Professor A. Joffe of Leningrad, then a visiting professor at the University of California. Though the experimental effects looked for turned out to be too small for detection, the ingenuity of the student, and his intelligent analysis of the difficulties, made it appear that in Overton Luhr there was promise of real research ability as well as proof of high scholastic attainments.

In the ensuing years this promise was amply fulfilled. In his last year of graduate work Luhr was awarded the much coveted Whiting Fellowship at the University of California. His Ph.D. thesis carried forward the rather startling work on ionic recombination initiated by Dr. Lauriston C. Marshall far beyond its early stages. On completion of his thesis Dr. Luhr was appointed to a one-year instructorship at the University of California to carry on further his new investigations on the analysis of gaseous ions, using a mass spectrograph. He then accepted one of the three-year rotating instructorships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he remained until 1934. In 1934 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Physics at Union College, Schenectady, New York, where he remained until his illness forced him to retire. His most brilliant research work was a direct measurement of the mass of gaseous ions, using the mass spectrograph, begun in 1930 at California and later carried to a brilliant conclusion at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following this work he entered the field of study of nuclear physics, applying his knowledge of gaseous ions and mass spectroscopy to attempt to develop powerful ion sources for nuclear disintegration. His contributions in this field, begun in collaboration with Professor E. Lamar and later carried on alone at Union College, showed again his research ability, though at this time his failing health had begun to impair his ability to work. Never of a robust constitution, away . . .

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