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Fellows Directory

Erwin Hahn

Erwin Hahn

Professor Erwin Hahn ForMemRS

Foreign Member

Elected: 2000


Erwin Hahn was an American physicist best known for his work on nuclear magnetic resonance — the phenomenon in which magnetic nuclei located within a magnetic field re-emit electromagnetic radiation at a specific frequency — and for his related discovery of nuclear spin echoes.

He also predicted and discovered optical self-induced transparency. This is an effect in which a coherent, high-intensity light pulse can pass through matter without perturbing it, through the excitation and de-excitation of scattering centres by the front and rear of the pulse, respectively.

Erwin received many accolades in recognition of his work, including the Comstock Prize of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Wolf Prize in Physics. He was also elected to the membership of a variety of prestigious scientific organisations, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the French Académie des Sciences.

Professor Erwin Hahn ForMemRS died on 20 September 2016.

Biographical Memoir


  • Wolf Prize

    In the field of physics for his discovery of nuclear spin echoes and for the phenomenon of self-induced transparency.

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