Albert M. Michelson was first American scientist to win Nobel Prize

Albert M. Michelson won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1907, becoming the first American scientist to win a Nobel Prize. He won the prize for his work on “optical precision instruments and the research carried out with their aid.”

This week we asked if the university community knew which of the university’s former faculty members was the first American scientist to win the prize. Among the respondents, 70 percent correctly guessed Michelson.

But there were 13 percent who guessed Edward W. Morley, who had worked with Michelson in the late 1800s to disprove the “aether” theory. Their work was later reflected in Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity.

Read more about Michelson and Morely at