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(1899-1980) American physicist and mathematician, co-awarded the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physics
Year of Birth: 1899
John Hasbrouck Van Vleck was born on March 13th, 1899 in Middletown, Connecticut. His father, Edward Burr Van Vleck, was a professor of mathematics at Wesleyan University. His mother, Abigail Barrows, was a descendant of John Hasbrouck, a 17th century Dutch settler in what is now New York. From a young age, John was exposed to mathematics and developed a keen interest in the subject. He attended Wesleyan University, where he graduated with a degree in mathematics in 1920.
In 1921, Van Vleck moved to Harvard University to pursue his PhD in mathematics. He studied under G.D. Birkhoff and completed his dissertation in 1923. After completing his PhD, he took a position as a professor of mathematics at Harvard. During this time, he began to develop his own theories and approaches to mathematics, which would later become known as the Van Vleck Transformation. His work was influential in the development of quantum mechanics and its applications.
In 1924, Van Vleck was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, a prestigious honor that recognizes significant achievements in scientific research. He continued to develop his theories and collaborated with other leading scientists in the field of quantum mechanics. In 1932, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the quantum theory of magnetic and electric susceptibilities. This was the first Nobel Prize ever awarded to an American mathematician.
Van Vleck continued to teach and research mathematics at Harvard until his retirement in 1954. During his time at Harvard, he mentored generations of students, many of whom went on to become leading scientists in their own right. He was also an active member of the American Mathematical Society and the National Academy of Sciences.
Van Vleck died in 1974, at the age of 75. His work remains highly influential in the field of mathematics, and his theories are still widely used in the modern scientific world. He is remembered as one of the leading mathematicians of the 20th century, and his legacy lives on in the work of those who continue to build on his theories.
John Hasbrouck Van Vleck was a remarkable mathematician and scientist who made significant contributions to the fields of mathematics and quantum mechanics. His work revolutionized the way we think about the physical world, and his legacy continues to influence the work of modern scientists. He will always be remembered as one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century.
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