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Langevin, Paul

Summary Article: Langevin , Paul (1872 - 1946) from The Cambridge Dictionary of Scientists
Langevin was a student of Perrin in Paris and later worked there with Pierre Curie; in between he spent nearly a year with J J Thomson in Cambridge. His interests in physics were wide-ranging and he became the leading French physicist of his time.Work on ionized gases led him to study the magnetic properties of gases; most are feebly diamagnetic (repelled by a magnetic field) but ozone (O3) is paramagnetic (weakly attracted into the field). Langevin showed in 1905 that magnetic behaviour could be understood in terms of the electrons present in atoms; electrons had recently (1895) been discovered by Thomson.In the First World War, he worked on a method for detecting U-boats by echo-sounding, using the reflection of ultrasonic waves (ie sound waves of very high frequency, and not audible). Curie had studied the piezoelectric effect – the small change in the size of some crystals produced by an ele...    Continue Reading
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