Max Theodor Felix von Laue, German physicist, c 1920s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Max Theodor Felix Von Laue (1879-1960) suggested an experiment to show the diffraction of X-rays by atoms in crystals, and prove the wave-nature of X-rays. It is posible to calculate the size and shape of atoms in a particular crystal by using the measurements of the intensity and position of the diffracted waves. Later, Sir William Bragg (1890-1971) took this experiment as the starting point for the creation of X-ray crystallography. Von Laue was awarded a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1914.