The Fifth Solvay Conference

Participants at the Fifth Solvay Conference in 1927.
Participants at the Fifth Solvay Conference in 1927.

This iconic photograph taken at the Fifth Solvay Conference shows the greatest gathering of intelligence ever. Physicists met in October 1927 in Brussels to discuss the then-new theory of quantum mechanics. Russ Hobbie and I mention several of the conference participants in Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology.

Watch this fascinating movie taken at the conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lw5GAg-PQfY

The greatest physicist of the early 20th century who did not attend the Fifth Solvay Conference was Ernest Rutherford, whose gold foil experiment proved that the atom contains a massive nucleus. Rutherford-who is my academic great-great-great-great-grandfather-was at the Seventh Solvay Conference in 1933 (see photograph below; Rutherford is sitting, sixth form the right), which is probably the second greatest gathering of intelligence ever (Einstein did not attend).

Participants at the Seventh Solvay Conference, 1933.

One little known fact about the Fifth Solvay Conference is that several of the participants brought their copy of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology.

Originally published at http://hobbieroth.blogspot.com.

Professor of Physics at Oakland University and coauthor of the textbook Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology.