Max von Laue


Max von Laue won the 1914 Nobel Prize in physics "for his discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals.” During von Laue’s time, there was debate whether or not X-rays were similar to light rays. If so, they would need to display some of the wave characteristics as light. Diffraction is something observed by all waves, but if X-rays were a wave, then they were very small (nanometers) and they would need to find a grating about ten times that, which von Laue realized to be about the same distance as molecules. von Laue made theoretical calculations and experiments were carried out providing evidence of interference patterns and the beginning of X-ray crystallography.