Louis de Broglie

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Wave nature of electrons

Louis-Victor-Pierre-Raymond, 7th duc de Broglie, FRS (English pronunciation: /dəˈbrɔɪ/; French: [də bʁœj]  ( listen); 15 August 1892 – 19 March 1987) was a French physicist and a Nobel laureate. He was the sixteenth member elected to occupy seat 1 of the Académie française in 1944, and served as Perpetual Secretary of the Académie des sciences, France.

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Biography

Louis de Broglie was born to a noble family in Dieppe, Seine-Maritime, younger son of Victor, 5th duc de Broglie. He became the 7th duc de Broglie upon the death without heir in 1960 of his older brother, Maurice, 6th duc de Broglie, also a physicist. He did not marry. When he died in Louveciennes, he was succeeded as duke by a distant cousin, Victor-François, 8th duc de Broglie.

De Broglie had originally intended a career in humanities, and received his first degree in history. Afterwards, though, he turned his attention toward mathematics and physics and received a degree in physics. With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, he offered his services to the army in the development of radio communications.

His 1924 doctoral thesis, Recherches sur la théorie des quanta (Research on Quantum Theory), introduced his theory of electron waves. This included the wave-particle duality theory of matter, based on the work of Max Planck and Albert Einstein on light. The thesis examiners, unsure of the material, passed his thesis to Einstein for evaluation who endorsed his wave-particle duality proposal wholeheartedly; de Broglie was awarded his doctorate. This research culminated in the de Broglie hypothesis stating that any moving particle or object had an associated wave. De Broglie thus created a new field in physics, the mécanique ondulatoire, or wave mechanics, uniting the physics of energy (wave) and matter (particle). For this he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1929.

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