Bloembergen, Nicolaas

Bloembergen, Nicolaas nēˈkəläs blo͞omˈbĕrgən, –bûrgən [key], 1920–2017, American physicist, b. Dordrecht, the Netherlands. Educated in the Netherlands, he began work at Harvard in 1946, first as a research assistant and later as a professor and then university professor (emeritus from 1990). He also was on the faculty of the Univ. of Arizona from 2001 until his death. Bloembergen is considered the father of nonlinear optics, which is the study of the interaction of high-intensity light, such as that generated by lasers, with the medium through with it passes. He shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Arthur Schawlow and Kai Siegbahn for their work in laser spectroscopy. Bloembergen and Schawlow investigated matter undetectable without lasers. He had earlier modified the maser of Charles Townes, making significant advances that contributed to the development of the laser, and also did pioneering work on nuclear magnetic resonance while in graduate school. Bloembergen became a U.S. citizen in 1958.

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