6 The Experimenter’s Rubens Tube


In 1904, Heinrich Rubens was a physicist well into a career studying waves. He was fascinated by every kind of wave he could find: electrical, acoustical, optical, or mechanical. A contemporary of Max Planck, Lord Rayleigh, and Marie Curie, Rubens made significant contributions to our understanding of subjects like blackbody radiation and other precursors to quantum theory. But it’s an experimental device he constructed that made his name famous outside the world of physics. The device he built to visually demonstrate standing waves has become known to experimenters and makers around the world as a Rubens ...

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