Today marks the birthday of German physicist Hans Wilhem Geiger (30 September 1882-24 September 1945), known mostly for giving his name to the Geiger Counter (also known as a Geiger-Muller counter), a type of particle detector typically used to detect radiation. Of note to word buffs-for every eponym in science (an eponym is a word derived from a name) there is just as often a loser to go with the winner, and today’s word is a great example. A Geiger-Muller Counter functions by detecting the ionization of particles in a Geiger-Muller tube, developed by Hans Geiger and his first PhD student, Walter Muller. Walter Muller had a distinguished career himself, finally starting a company to manufacture Geiger-Muller counters, but history mostly remembers Geiger.
Oh, and Hans Geiger also co-developed the Geiger-Marsden Experiment with Ernest Marsden under the direction of Ernest Rutherford. This experiment (also known as the gold foil experiment or Rutherford Experiment) led to the discovery of the atomic nucleus.
Image of Hans Wilhelm Geiger in 1928 by Nachlass von Friedrich Hund im Besitz von Gerhard Hund. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
Image of a Geiger Muller Counter courtesy GFDL under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.