Friday, June 27, 2008

Physicist Playing Cards

Last Christmas, my daughter Katherine gave me a unique and fascinating present: Physicist Playing Cards. Each card features a picture of an eminent physicist. You can order the cards from the American Institute of Physics at http://store.aip.org. Two decks are available: one of historical physicists, and one of modern physicists. I browsed through the deck of historical physicists and found ten cards that have relevance to biology and medicine. These ten physicists, each a Nobel Prize winner, contributed greatly to the application of physics to the life sciences. Many of these physicists are mentioned in the 4th Edition of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology (the appropriate page is given in parentheses).

Queen of Diamonds: Marie Curie, pioneer in the study of radiation (p. 489).

Ace of Diamonds: Wilhelm Roentgen, discoverer of X-rays (p. 440).

Nine of Clubs: William Bragg, analyzed crystal structures using X-ray diffraction (p. 466).

Three of Hearts: Felix Bloch, co-discoverer of nuclear magnetic resonance (p. 519).

Ten of Hearts: Henri Becquerel, discoverer of radioactivity (p. 472).

King of Hearts: Edward Purcell, co-discoverer of nuclear magnetic resonance (p. 519).

Ace of Hearts: Pierre Curie, discoverer of the piezoelectric effect (p. 216).

Eight of Spades: Frederic Joliot, co-creator of the first artificial radioisotope (none).

Nine of Spades: Max von Laue, discoverer of X-ray diffraction (none).

Queen of Spades: Irene Joliot Curie, co-creator of the first artificial radioisotope (none).

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