Edward Mills Purcell
American physicist (1912-1997)
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- I have not yet lost a feeling of wonder, and of delight, that this delicate motion should reside in all the things around us, revealing itself only to him who looks for it. I remember, in the winter of our first experiments, just seven years ago, looking on snow with new eyes. There the snow lay around my doorstep — great heaps of protons quietly precessing in the earth's magnetic field. To see the world for a moment as something rich and strange is the private reward of many a discovery.
- It is an old story in physics that higher resolving power leads to new effects. We remember that the magnetic moment of the nucleus was itself discovered through the hyperfine structure of lines in the visible spectrum. The nuclear resonance line in a liquid or gas can be remarkably narrow, as you have already seen. As soon as the reason for this was recognized, it became clear that the only practical limit on resolution was the inhomogeneity of the magnetic field applied to the specimen.
- Nobel lecture (11 December 1952)
- Motion at low Reynolds number is very majestic, slow, and regular.
- "Life at Low Reynolds Number" in the American Journal of Physics (January 1977)