Albert A. Michelson, USNA Class of 1873, was one of the giants
in the scientific world of the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries. He was born on December 19, 1852 in Strelno, Prussia.
When he was two, his parents moved to the United States. He grew
up in Murphys, California and in 1873 graduated from the United
States Naval Academy. Michelson maintained a teaching career as
a professor of physics at various institutions, beginning that career
at the Naval Academy in 1875. He was the second American citizen,
and the first American scientist, to become a Nobel Laureate, receiving
the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1907.
Michelson made great strides in the field of physics. His precise
measurements of the velocity of light, itself a major scientific
contribution, made possible Einstein's theory of relativity. The
velocity of light is the constant "c" in the equation
E=mc2 Michelson's research also advanced other related fields such as
optics, spectroscopy, metrology, astronomy, and geophysics. Michelson
was a notable physicist, teacher and remarkable man, whose personal
interests ranged from billiards and chess to painting and music.
He married twice and had three children from each marriage. Albert
A. Michelson died on May 9, 1931, at the age of 78, in Pasadena,