Purcell enters the MIT Radiation Laboratory, becoming the Head of the Fundamental Developments Group, responsible for the exploration of new frequency bands and new microwave techniques. Purcell works on shorter wavelengths and develops sources that emit 3cm microwaves and, later, 1.25cm radiation. However during the testing phase he discovers a water absorption problem: the radar beam is attenuated in moist air because two quantum states of water absorb energy from the radar beam.
Edward Purcell receives an exchange-student fellowship to the Technische Hochschule in Karlsruhe, thanks to the advice and the help of Lark-Horovitz. While there, Purcell takes courses in physics and German.
Edward Purcell dies in Cambridge (US) for a respiratory failure at the age of 84.
Purcell enters Purdue University where he graduates in electrical engineering. In his junior year, Purcell assembles a spectrometer based on a long-unused Rowland grating to examine some atomic spectra. Then he builds an electrometer to measure the half-life of a radioactive sample. As a senior, Purcell leads an electron diffraction experiment during which he finds Debye-Scherrer rings formed by the diffracting electrons. Thanks to these projects Purcell decides to devote himself to physics.
Edward Purcell relocates with his family sixty miles east to the small town of Mattoon, where his father becomes the general manager of the Illinois Southeastern Telephone Company. Purcell is fascinated by electricity, mathematics, engineering and the nice diagrams that he finds inside the "Bell System Technical Journal".
Edward Purcell discovers nuclear magnetic resonance in liquids and in solids in an after-hours experiment with Pound and Torrey. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) has become widely used to study the molecular structure of pure materials and the composition of mixtures. The Nobel Prize winning discovery is also the basis of medical resonance imaging (or MRI), now used as a diagnostic tool, producing detailed images of the body's interior.
Edward Purcell receives half of the Nobel Prize for Physics along with Felix Bloch "for their development of new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements and discoveries in connection therewith".
In 1949 Purcell becomes Professor of Physics, in 1960 Gerhard Gade Professor and in 1979 he receives the National Medal of Science. In 1980 he become Professor Emeritus. In 1952 he detects the 21-cm radiation emitted by neutral atomic hydrogen in interstellar space. He continues his studies in the field of nuclear magnetism, particularly in relaxation phenomena, related problems of molecular structure, measurement of atomic constants, and nuclear magnetic behaviour at low temperatures.
Edward Purcell is born in Taylorville, Illinois, to Edward A. Purcell, the manager of the independent local telephone company, and Mary Elizabeth Mills, a Vassar graduate with a Master of Arts degree in classics, teaches high school Latin. Thanks to his father’s profession Purcell has access to wire, magnets, and other electrical components. Thanks to his mother’s profession Purcell enjoys the reading of many books.
Purcell enters Harvard University. His physics professor J. H. Van Vleck asks him and his classmate Hebb to do a theoretical analysis of cooling by adiabatic demagnetization. The paper they produce becomes the first significant paper on magnetic cooling. For his thesis under K. T. Bainbridge, a mass spectroscopist interested in focusing charged particles by means of electric and magnetic fields, Purcell focuses on properties of a spherical condenser (now called a capacitor).
Edward Purcell returns to Harvard as Associate Professor of physics.
Edward Purcell becomes a Harvard Instructor. Bainbridge is building a cyclotron at Harvard and Purcell joins this effort. He succeeds in developing methods to improve the homogeneity of the cyclotron magnets.
Edward Purcell marries Beth C. Busser, an exchange student he met on board a ship en route for Germany. She was going to Munich to study German literature.