Peter Debye

Peter Joseph William Debye was a Dutch-American physicist and physical chemist, Nobel laureate in Chemistry. Born Petrus Josephus Wilhelmus Debije in Maastricht, Debye enrolled in the Aachen University of Technology in 1901. In 1905, he completed his first degree in electrical engineering, he published his first paper, a mathematically elegant solution of a problem involving eddy currents, in 1907. At Aachen, he studied under the theoretical physicist Arnold Sommerfeld, who claimed that his most important discovery was Peter Debye. In 1906, Sommerfeld received an appointment at Munich and took Debye with him as his assistant. Debye got his Ph. D. with a dissertation on radiation pressure in 1908. In 1910, he derived the Planck radiation formula using a method which Max Planck agreed was simpler than his own. In 1911, when Albert Einstein took an appointment as a professor at Prague, Debye took his old professorship at the University of Zurich, Switzerland; this was followed by moves to Utrecht in 1912, to Göttingen in 1913, to ETH Zurich in 1920, to University of Leipzig in 1927, in 1934 to Berlin, succeeding Einstein, he became director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics whose facilities were built only during Debye's era.

He was awarded the Lorentz Medal in 1935. From 1937 to 1939 he was the president of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. In May 1914 he became member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and in December of the same year he became foreign member. Debye was described as a martinet when it came to scientific principles, yet was always approachable and made time for his students, his personal philosophy emphasized a fulfillment of enjoyment in one's work. Debye was an avid trout fisherman and gardener, collector of cacti, was "always known to enjoy a nice cigar". While in Berlin as an assistant to Arnold Sommerfeld, Debye became acquainted with Mathilde Alberer. Mathilde was the daughter of the proprietor of the boarding house. Mathilde would soon change her citizenship and in 1913, Debye married Mathilde Alberer. Debye would enjoy working in his rose garden with Mathilde Albere late into his years, they had a son, Peter P. Debye, a daughter, Mathilde Maria. Peter became a physicist and collaborated with Debye in some of his researches, had a son, a chemist.

His first major scientific contribution was the application of the concept of dipole moment to the charge distribution in asymmetric molecules in 1912, developing equations relating dipole moments to temperature and dielectric constant. In consequence, the units of molecular dipole moments are termed debyes in his honor. In 1912, he extended Albert Einstein's theory of specific heat to lower temperatures by including contributions from low-frequency phonons. See Debye model. In 1913, he extended Niels Bohr's theory of atomic structure, introducing elliptical orbits, a concept introduced by Arnold Sommerfeld. In 1914–1915, Debye calculated the effect of temperature on X-ray diffraction patterns of crystalline solids with Paul Scherrer. In 1923, together with his assistant Erich Hückel, he developed an improvement of Svante Arrhenius' theory of electrical conductivity in electrolyte solutions. Although an improvement was made to the Debye–Hückel equation in 1926 by Lars Onsager, the theory is still regarded as a major forward step in our understanding of electrolytic solutions.

In 1923, Debye developed a theory to explain the Compton effect, the shifting of the frequency of X-rays when they interact with electrons. From 1934 to 1939 Debye was director of the physics section of the prestigious Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin. From 1936 onwards he was professor of Theoretical Physics at the Frederick William University of Berlin; these positions were held during the Nazi Germany in Germany and, from 1938 onward, Austria. In 1939 Debye traveled to the United States to deliver the Baker Lectures at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. After leaving Germany in early 1940, Debye became a professor at Cornell, chaired the chemistry department for 10 years, became a member of Alpha Chi Sigma. In 1946 he became an American citizen. Unlike the European phase of his life, where he moved from city to city every few years, in the United States Debye remained at Cornell for the remainder of his career, he continued research until his death. Much of Debye's work at Cornell concerned the use of light-scattering techniques to determine the size and molecular weight of polymer molecules.

This started as a result of his research during World War II on synthetic rubber, but was extended to proteins and other macromolecules. In April 1966, Debye suffered a heart attack, in November of that year a second one proved fatal, he is buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery. In January 2006, a book appeared in The Netherlands, written by Sybe Rispens, entitled Einstein in the Netherlands. One chapter of this book discusses the relationship between Albert Debye. Rispens discovered documents that, as he believed, were new and proved that, during his directorship of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, Debye was involved in cleansing German science institutions of Jewish and other "non-Aryan elements". Rispens records that on December 9, 1938, Debye wrote in his capacity as chairman of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft to all the members of the DPG: In light of the current situation, membership by German Jews as stipulated by the Nuremberg laws, of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft cannot be


Kostovite is a rare orthorhombic-pyramidal gray white telluride mineral containing copper and gold with chemical formula AuCuTe4. It was discovered by Bulgarian mineralogist Georgi Terziev, who named it in honor of his professor Ivan Kostov. In 1965 kostovite was approved as a new species by the International Mineralogical Association; the type locality is Bulgaria. Small deposits have been found in Kochbulak, Commoner mine, Ashanti, Buckeye Gulch, Kutemajärvi, Coranda-Hondol, Bereznjakovskoje, Panormos Bay, Guilaizhuang Mine, Tongshi complex, Kalgoorlie-Boulder City. List of minerals named after people G. Van Tendeloo. "High-resolution electron-microscopic study of the modulated structure of kostovite". Acta Crystallographica. 42: 121–130. Doi:10.1107/S0108768186098488


Sorting and assembly machinery component 50 homolog is a protein that in humans is encoded by the SAMM50 gene. By means of exome sequencing, two variants - P377A and V231I on the SAMM50 gene were determined to have a potential relationship to the disease phenotype of Ezra, 7 year old male with clinical diagnosis of Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, Hemiplegic Migraine, Abdominal Migraines/atypical Cyclic Vomiting, Exocrine Pancreatic Disorder. Dystonia, developmental regressions, Global Apraxia/Dyspraxic. History of torticollis, psychomotor regression and colitis as well as Carnitine Deficiency; these variants have not been reported making Ezra the only person known to have these variants. If you are reading this and have a child/patient/loved one with any of these variants or another variant on SAMM50 with any similarities in phenotype, please edit this form so that we can connect