London, Fritz, 1900-1954

Alternative names
Birth 1900-03-07
Death 1954-03-30
German, English

Biographical notes:

Physicist. Major affiliations include: Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany, 1928-1933; University of Oxford, England, 1933-1936; and Duke University, Durham, NC, 1939.

From the description of Letters to Paul Zilsel concerning low temperature conferences and work in which both were engaged, 1947-1953. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79617781

Fritz London, physicist and theoretical chemist, formulated the London equations of superconductivity with his brother, Heinz London. After fleeing Nazi Germany in 1933, London held appointments at Oxford and Paris, then at the Duke University Dept. of Physics from 1939 to 1954. He specialized in low temperature physics and quantum chemistry, and authored Superfluids (1950) and numerous articles.

From the description of Fritz London papers, 1922-2008 (bulk 1926-1954) (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 58597560

Fritz Wolfgang London was born in Breslau, Germany (Wrocjaw, Poland) in 1900, brother of Heinz London and son of a professor of mathematics in Bonn. He studied classics at the universities of Frankfurt and Munich and did research in philosophy leading to a doctorate at Bonn. Later he was attracted to theoretical physics and worked with Arnold Sommerfeld at Munich and Erwin Schrodinger at Zurich University in 1927, and published on the quantum theory of the chemical bond with Walter Heitler. In 1930 he calculated the non-polar component of forces between molecules, now called van der Waals or London forces. He and his brother fled from Germany in 1933 to Oxford where they joined Sir Francis Simon's group at the Clarendon Laboratory. Together they published major papers on conductivity giving the London equations (1935). Fritz moved to Duke University in the USA (1939-54) and continued to work on superconductivity and superfluidity.

[Biography from Chambers Biographical Dictionary, 1997]

From the guide to the Fritz London Papers, (bulk 1926-1954), 1922-2008, (University Archives, Duke University)


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  • Atomic theory
  • Relativity (Physics)
  • Fluids
  • Low temperatures--Congresses
  • Wave mechanics
  • Quantum theory--History
  • Complementarity (Physics)
  • Physics--History
  • Electric conductivity
  • Helium


  • Physicists


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