Thor Rhodin

Last updated
Thor Rhodin
Scientific career
Fields Applied and Engineering Physics
Institutions Cornell University
Doctoral advisor Hugh Scott Taylor
Doctoral students Ward Plummer

Thor Rhodin, late Professor Emeritus, Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell University, is credited with pioneering work in the birth and evolution of surface science beginning with his research on surface sensitivity using auger electron spectroscopy. He played a major role, over several decades, in shaping the development of the field from fundamental work, using the field ion microscope, on the imaging and bonding of individual atoms at surfaces to the fundamentals of surface catalysis of hydrocarbon chemistry by the transition metals.

Cornell University private university in Ithaca (New York, US)

Cornell University is a private and statutory Ivy League research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell's founding principle, a popular 1868 Ezra Cornell quotation: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."

Auger electron spectroscopy analytical technique used specifically in the study of surfaces

Auger electron spectroscopy is a common analytical technique used specifically in the study of surfaces and, more generally, in the area of materials science. Underlying the spectroscopic technique is the Auger effect, as it has come to be called, which is based on the analysis of energetic electrons emitted from an excited atom after a series of internal relaxation events. The Auger effect was discovered independently by both Lise Meitner and Pierre Auger in the 1920s. Though the discovery was made by Meitner and initially reported in the journal Zeitschrift für Physik in 1922, Auger is credited with the discovery in most of the scientific community. Until the early 1950s Auger transitions were considered nuisance effects by spectroscopists, not containing much relevant material information, but studied so as to explain anomalies in X-ray spectroscopy data. Since 1953 however, AES has become a practical and straightforward characterization technique for probing chemical and compositional surface environments and has found applications in metallurgy, gas-phase chemistry, and throughout the microelectronics industry.

Field ion microscope microscope used for imaging atom arrangements

The Field ion microscope (FIM) was invented by Müller in 1951. It is a type of microscope that can be used to image the arrangement of atoms at the surface of a sharp metal tip.



Princeton University University in Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, and renamed itself Princeton University in 1896.

Academic genealogy

Justus von Liebig German chemist

Justus Freiherr von Liebig was a German chemist who made major contributions to agricultural and biological chemistry, and was considered the founder of organic chemistry. As a professor at the University of Giessen, he devised the modern laboratory-oriented teaching method, and for such innovations, he is regarded as one of the greatest chemistry teachers of all time. He has been described as the "father of the fertilizer industry" for his emphasis on nitrogen and trace minerals as essential plant nutrients, and his formulation of the law of the minimum, which described how plant growth relied on the scarcest nutrient resource, rather than the total amount of resources available. He also developed a manufacturing process for beef extracts, and with his consent a company, called Liebig Extract of Meat Company, was founded to exploit the concept; it later introduced the Oxo brand beef bouillon cube. He popularized an earlier invention for condensing vapors, which came to be known as the Liebig condenser.

Adolf von Baeyer German Chemist

Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer was a German chemist who synthesised indigo, developed a nomenclature for cyclic compounds. He was ennobled in the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1885 and was the 1905 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Victor Villiger German chemist

Victor Villiger was a Swiss-born German chemist and the discoverer of the Baeyer-Villiger oxidation.


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Hermann Kolbe German chemist

Adolph Wilhelm Hermann Kolbe was a seminal contributor in the birth of modern organic chemistry. He was a Professor at Marburg and Leipzig. Kolbe coined the term synthesis and contributed to the philosophical demise of vitalism through synthesis of the organic substance acetic acid from carbon disulfide, and also contributed to the development of structural theory. This was done via modifications to the idea of "radicals" and accurate prediction of the existence of secondary and tertiary alcohols, and to the emerging array of organic reactions through his Kolbe electrolysis of carboxylate salts, the Kolbe-Schmitt reaction in the preparation of aspirin and the Kolbe nitrile synthesis. After studies with Wöhler and Bunsen, Kolbe was involved with the early internationalization of chemistry through overseas work in London, and rose through the ranks of his field to edit the Journal für Praktische Chemie. As such, he was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences won the Royal Society of London's Davy Medal in the year of his death. Despite these accomplishments and his training a storied next generation of chemists, Kolbe is remembered for editing the Journal for more than a decade, where his rejection of Kekulé's structure of benzene, van't Hoff's theory on the origin of chirality and von Baeyer's reforms of nomenclature were personally critical and linguistically violent. Kolbe died of a heart attack in Leipzig at age 68, six years after the death of his wife, Charlotte. He was survived by four children.

August Kekulé German organic chemist

Friedrich August Kekulé, later Friedrich August Kekule von Stradonitz, was a German organic chemist. From the 1850s until his death, Kekulé was one of the most prominent chemists in Europe, especially in theoretical chemistry. He was the principal founder of the theory of chemical structure.

Gustav Kirchhoff German physicist

Gustav Robert Kirchhoff was a German physicist who contributed to the fundamental understanding of electrical circuits, spectroscopy, and the emission of black-body radiation by heated objects.

Wilhelm Ostwald Baltic German chemist

Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald was a German chemist. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1909 for his work on catalysis, chemical equilibria and reaction velocities. Ostwald, Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff, Walther Nernst, and Svante Arrhenius are usually credited with being the modern founders of the field of physical chemistry.

Ghent University Dutch-speaking university in Belgium

Ghent University is a public research university located in Ghent, Belgium. It was established in 1817 by King William I of the Netherlands. After the Belgian revolution of 1830, the newly formed Belgian state began to administer the university. In 1930, it became the first Dutch-speaking university in Belgium, whereas French had previously been the standard academic language. In 1991, the university was granted major autonomy and changed its name accordingly from State University of Ghent to its current designation.

The year 1865 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below.

Emil Erlenmeyer German chemist

Richard August Carl Emil Erlenmeyer, known in his own day and subsequently simply as Emil Erlenmeyer, was a German chemist known for contributing to the early development of the theory of structure, formulating the Erlenmeyer rule, and designing the Erlenmeyer flask, a type of chemical flask, which is named after him.

Friedrich Stromeyer German Chemist

Prof Friedrich Stromeyer FRS(For) FRSE was a German chemist. He was the discoverer of cadmium.

Cornell University College of Engineering

The College of Engineering is a division of Cornell University that was founded in 1870 as the Sibley College of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanic Arts. It is one of four private undergraduate colleges at Cornell that are not statutory colleges.

Friedrich Wieck German pianist

Johann Gottlob Friedrich Wieck was a noted German piano teacher, voice teacher, owner of a piano store, and author of essays and music reviews. He is remembered as the teacher of his daughter, Clara, a child prodigy who was undertaking international concert tours by age eleven and who later married her father's pupil Robert Schumann, in defiance of her father's extreme objections. As Clara Schumann, she became one of the most famous pianists of her time. Another of Wieck's daughters, Marie Wieck, also had a career in music, although not nearly so illustrious as Clara's. Other pupils included Hans von Bülow.

Heinrich Caro German chemist

Heinrich Caro, was a German chemist.

Erwin Wilhelm Müller was a German physicist who invented the Field Emission Electron Microscope (FEEM), the Field Ion Microscope (FIM), and the Atom-Probe Field Ion Microscope. He and his student, Kanwar Bahadur, were the first people to experimentally observe atoms.

Carl Wilhelm Wagner was a German Physical chemist. He is best known for his pioneering work on Solid-state chemistry, where his work on oxidation rate theory, counter diffusion of ions and defect chemistry led to a better understanding of how reactions take place at the atomic level. His life and achievements were honoured in a Solid State Ionics symposium commemorating his 100th birthday in 2001, where he was described as the Father of Solid State Chemistry.

Ward Plummer American physicist

E. Ward Plummer is an American physicist. His main contributions are in surface physics of metals. Plummer is a Professor of Physics at Louisiana State University.

Frederick G. Donnan Irish scientist

Frederick George Donnan CBE FRS FRSE was an Irish physical chemist who is known for his work on membrane equilibria, and commemorated in the Donnan equilibrium describing ionic transport in cells. He spent most of his career at University College London.

Guido Goldschmiedt Austrian chemist

Guido Goldschmiedt was an Austrian chemist. During his career, he collaborated with Bunsen in Heidelberg and Baeyer in Straßburg. In 1891, he became full professor at the University of Vienna and later at the University of Prague. His most remarkable results were establishing the structure of several natural compounds including papaverine and ellagic acid.

The study of real estate development at the graduate school level has taken many forms, giving rise to various educational models in different countries. The decision for individuals pursuing higher education in this field often comes down to choosing between a traditional degree with a focus on real estate or an interdisciplinary, comprehensive degree focused wholly on real estate studies.