Debye, Peter Joseph Wilhelm (dēbĪˈ) [key], 1884–1966, American physicist, b. the Netherlands. He was professor at the universities of Zürich, Utrecht, Göttingen, Leipzig, and Berlin. In 1940 he came to the United States and served as professor of chemistry at Cornell (1940–52). For his work on the structure of molecules he received the 1936 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is known also for his studies in the conductivity of electricity by salt solutions and in the heat capacity of solids.
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