Clinton J Davison and Lester H Germer, American physicists, c 1927.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Clinton Davison (1881-1958) and Lester Germer (1896- 1971) were responsible for an experiment which fundamentally changed modern physics. The Davison-Germer experiment, which proved L de Broglie's (1892-1987) theory that particles could behave like waves, was initially accidental, conducted as part of a patent suit. It was on hearing of de Broglie's work that Davison saw he and Germer had demonstrated the wave behaviour of particles. Conclusive evidence was obtained in 1927, the approximate year of this photograph. For this Davison shared the Nobel Prize in 1937 with GP Thomson (1892-1975).