Irving Langmuir – biographies by Electric Universe theory websites
The interest in double layers made a great leap forward when Langmuir began his investigations. He introduced the term plasma in his paper “Oscillation in Ionized Gases” (Langmuir and Tonks, 1929a; see also Langmuir and Tonks, 1929a and b). Curiously enough, he does not give any motivation for choosing this word, which was probably borrowed from medical terminology. He just states: “We shall use the name ‘plasma’ to describe this region containing balanced charges of ions and electrons.” His biographers do not give any explanation either. Langmuir also made the first detailed analyses of double layers.
Irving Langmuir was probably the most fascinating man of the plasma pioneers. As his biographers describe him, he was far from being a narrow-minded specialist. His curiosity was all-embracing, his enthusiasm indiscriminate. He liked whatever he looked upon, and he looked everywhere. He was not far from the ideal which Roederer, in a recent paper (1985), contrasts with the insulated specialists that dominate science today.
Langmuir once wrote, “Perhaps my most deeply rooted hobby is to understand the mechanism of simple and familiar phenomena” and the phenomena might be anything from molecules to mountains. One of his friends said, “Langmuir is a regular thinking machine: put in facts and you get out a theory.” And the facts his always active brain combined were anything from electrical discharges and plasmas to biological and geophysical phenomena. Science as fun was one of his cardinal tenets.
From this one gets the impression that he was very superficial. This is not correct. He got a Nobel prize in chemistry because he was recognized as the father of surface chemistry. He knew enough of biology to borrow the term plasma from this science, and the mechanism of double layers from surface chemistry. Langmuir’s probes were of decisive value for the early exploration of plasmas and double layers, and they are still valuable tools.
All magnetospheric physicists must regret that as far as is known, he probably never saw a full-scale auroral display. Schenectady, where he spent most of his life is rather far from the auroral zone, and he seems never to have travelled to the auroralzone.If he had, his passion for combining phenomena in different fields might very well have made him realize that the beautiful flickering multi-colored phenomena in the sky must be connected with the beautiful flickering multi-colored phenomena he had observed so many times in his discharge tubes. At a time when Birkeland was dead he might have saved magnetospheric physics from half a century when it was a credo that the road to magnetic storms and aurorae should go through a jungle of misleading mathematical formulae where trees and trees prevented you from seeing the wood -but you can never reconstruct history.
In 1950 I published a monograph, Cosmical Electrodvnamics (Alfven, 1950) in which Chapter III deals with electrical discharges in gases. Essential parts of this is devoted to plasma physics, I mention Langmuir only in passing because a quarter of a century after his break-through the results were considered as “classical”: all experimental physicists were familiar with his works on plasmas, double layers, probes, etc. However, many theoreticians were not; they had no knowledge of Langmuir’s work. They do not mention the word “plasma” and had no idea that experiments in close contact with theory had shown that plasmas were drastically different from their”ionized gases”. I tried to draw attention to this by pointing out: “What is urgently needed is not a refined mathematical treatment (referring to Chapman-Cowling) but a rough analysis of the basic phenomena (referring to the general knowledge of plasmas).
Today, 60 years after Langmuir most astrophysicists still have no knowledge of his work. The velocity of the spread of relevant knowledge to astrophysics seems to be much below the velocity of light.
Double Layers and Circuits in Astrophysics (PDF) by Hannes Alfvén
He introduced the concept of electron temperature and in 1924 invented the diagnostic method for measuring both temperature and density with an electrostatic probe, now called a Langmuir probe and commonly used in plasma physics. The current of a biased probe tip is measured as a function of bias voltage to determine the local plasma temperature and density. He also discovered atomic hydrogen, which he put to use by inventing the atomic hydrogen welding process; the first plasma weld ever made. Plasma welding has since been developed into gas tungsten arc welding.
Irving Langmuir | Plasma-Universe.com
He also defined and explained the term ‘valence’ as part of his description of the atom. Few textbooks, however, recognise the influence that Langmuir had on the development of our understanding of the nature of the atom.
He became the first ‘non-academic’ chemist to receive the Nobel Prize, an accomplishment he realised in 1932. Langmuir probes, which can be used in space, are named after him.
A Brief History of Plasma – Irving Langmuir 1881-1957 | Plasmacosmology.net
The Nobel Laureate, Irving Langmuir, coined the term “pathological science” for “the science of things that aren’t so”.
Two key symptoms of such science are:
(1) the resort to fantastic theories contrary to our experience, and
(2) the use of ad-hoc requirements to save the appearances.
Strange Star or Strange Science? | Holoscience
In the 1920s, Langmuir discovered the double layer, an electrostatic structure that may appear in a plasma, consisting of two layers of oppositely charged ions. Langmuir’s electrodes used to probe and study gas discharges are named after him: Langmuir probes.
In the Forward to the Collected Works of Irving Langmuir, C. Guy Suits noted that “One striking feature of his research method was its instrumental simplicity… [H]is own experiments were almost invariably simple and uncluttered. He seemed positively attracted to simple experimental techniques, in refreshing contrast to what sometimes appears to be a fashionable reliance on impressive and expensive complexity of research equipment.”
Happy Birthday Irving Langmuir | Thunderbolts TPOD
More Irving Langmuir stuff (non EU theory sites)
Langmuir’s work on space charge effects and related phenomena led to many important technical developments which have had a profound effect on later technology.
Irving Langmuir | Nobel Prize Organization
Irving Langmuir. 1932 Nobel Lauerate for Chemistry. Foremost and most inquiring scientist at the General Electric Company in Schenectady … Langmuir was the first to coin the term plasma (in 1923), borrowing the term from medical science, to describe the lifelike state he observed in the laboratory. He also the first to discover ‘double sheathes,’ now called double layers, as the plasma electrons and ions separated in his glass tubes.
He was rewarded for his many efforts and interests by numerous awards. He received 15 honorary degrees and 22 medals … An avid outdoorsman, he climbed the Matterhorn, explored the Adirondacks, flew airplanes, skied, skated, and once walked 52 miles in one day.
Irving Langmuir | Plasmauniverse.info
He was one of the first scientists to work with plasmas and was the first to call these ionized gases by that name, because they reminded him of blood plasma. Langmuir and Tonks discovered electron density waves in plasmas that are now known as Langmuir waves.
Irving Langmuir | Wikipedia
Langmuir’s study of gases near hot metal surfaces also led him to investigate thermionic emission—the ejection of electrons from a heated surface—and the behaviour of surfaces in a vacuum.
Irving Langmuir | Encyclopædia Britannica
As a result of those studies, carried out on relatively cool and dense plasmas, scientists nowadays can talk of “Langmuir waves” and fly “Langmuir probes” aboard satellites. Gradually plasma research spread in other directions, of which three were particularly significant.
First, the development of radio led to the discovery of the ionosphere, the natural “plasma roof” above the atmosphere, which bounces back radio waves and sometimes absorbs them. Starting with the study of the propagation of radio waves in the ionosphere, a wide variety of plasma waves was identified, in general spreading differently along magnetic field lines than perpendicular to them.
Second, astrophysicists recognized that much of the universe consisted of plasmas, and that understanding astrophysical processes required a better grasp on plasma physics. This was particularly true for the Sun, whose intensely magnetic sunspots produced many intricate plasma phenomena (e.g. solar flares).
Finally, the creation of the atomic bomb raised great interest in nuclear energy as a possible source of power for the future … However, since gas at such a temperature becomes a plasma, the idea arose to hold it trapped inside a magnetic field, without it actually touching any material walls.
Plasma Physics History – Irving Langmuir | NASA
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