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Kai M. Siegbahn

Kai M. SiegbahnAKA Kai Manne Börje Siegbahn

Born: 20-Apr-1918
Birthplace: Lund, Sweden
Died: 20-Jul-2007
Location of death: Angelholm, Sweden
Cause of death: Heart Failure

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: Sweden
Executive summary: Electron spectroscopy

Swedish physicist Kai M. Siegbahn developed techniques for chemical analysis using high-resolution electron spectroscopy, which he called electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis (ESCA), and which are now generally termed x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Spectroscopy examines the wavelengths of light or radiation emissions from particles of matter, and analyzes these frequencies to determine the molecular structure of that matter. Siegbahn's methodology made major improvements to earlier spectroscopy technique, first demonstrated with his 1954 high-quality spectrum of sodium chloride. His XPS technique has been used to illuminate previously unknown details about the structure of pure elements, inorganic compounds, metallic alloys, ceramics, fibers, glasses, glues, and oils, as well as bones and teeth. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1981.

His father, Manne Siegbahn, won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1924, for work that built on Albert Einstein's explanation of the photoelectric effect to pioneer the previous generation of spectroscopy technique. They were the sixth father-son Nobel combination and eighth parent-child winners, and the younger Siegbahn once told reporters, "It's a decided advantage if you start discussing physics every day at the breakfast table." He retired to emeritus status at the University of Uppsala in 1984, but maintained an office and lab at the University, where he continued working until his death in 2007. Two of his three sons became physicists.

Father: Manne Siegbahn (physicist and Nobel Laureate)
Mother: Karin Högbom (m. 1914)
Brother: Bo Lennart Georg Siegbahn (diplomat, b. 25-Feb-1915, d. 7-Jan-2008)
Wife: Anna Brita Rhedin (m. 23-May-1944, three sons)
Son: Per (physicist, b. 1945)
Son: Hans (physicist, b. 1947)
Son: Nils (b. 1953)

    High School: Katedralskolan Gymnasium, Uppsala (1936)
    University: University of Uppsala (studied 1936-42)
    University: PhD, University of Stockholm (1944)
    Scholar: Nobel Institute for Physics, Stockholm (1942-51)
    Professor: Physics, Royal Institute of Technology (1951-54)
    Professor: University of Uppsala (1954-84)

    John Bj÷rkÚn Prize 1955
    Lindblom Prize 1955
    RSSU Anders Celsius Medal 1962
    Sixten Heyman Award 1971
    ACS Harrison Howe Award 1973
    Thermo Electron Maurice F. Hasler Award 1975
    ACS Charles Frederick Chandler Medal 1976
    John Bj÷rkÚn Prize 1977
    SCS Torbern Bergman Medal 1979
    Nobel Prize for Physics 1981 (with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Arthur L. Schawlow)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences Foreign Member
    Finnish Academy of Science and Arts
    International Bureau of Weights and Measures
    International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Past President
    Norwegian Academy of Science
    Pontifical Academy of Sciences
    Royal Norwegian Academy of Sciences
    Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala
    Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences
    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Author of books:
Beta- and Gamma-Ray Spectroscopy (1955, physics)
Alpha-, Beta- and Gamma-Ray Spectroscopy (1965, physics; two volumes)
ESCA: Atomic, Molecular and Solid State Structure Studied by Means of Electron Spectroscopy (1967, physics)
ESCA Applied to Free Molecules (1969, physics)


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