2004 – Richard E. Norberg & Irving J. Lowe

Richard E. Norberg was born in 1922 and received his Ph.D. 1951 in Physics at the University of Illinois USA. He was introduced to NMR by Charles Slichter and Erwin Hahn. Norberg joined the faculty of physics at Washington University, St. Louis in 1954. His research specialities are: NMR at high pressure, for physisorbed systems, in amorphous semiconductors, in condensed rare gases, in metal-hydrogen systems, and matrix isolated H2, HD, and D2.

Irving J. Lowe was born in 1929 and received his Ph.D. 1956 in Physics at Washington University, St. Louis, USA. His thesis supervisors were George Pake, Donald Maxwell and Richard Norberg. Lowe was a Sloan Fellow at Washington University during 1956-58. He spent the years 1958-62 at the University of Minnesota and is professor of physics since 1962 at the University of Pittsburgh. His research specialities are: Solid state NMR, NMR theory and instrumentation, magnetic resonance imaging. Irving J. Lowe invented the method of magic angle spinning (MAS), independently from R. Andrew, by extending his earlier work together with Norberg on motional narrowing.

Norberg and Lowe jointly introduced the Fourier Transform method in solid state NMR by demonstrating that NMR spectra can be obtained by Fourier transformation of the Free Induction Decay (FID) after a hard pulse. This led to a detailed investigation of FIDs and the corresponding spectra of dipole-dipole and quadrupole interactions in different types of solids. Their seminal work in CaF2 laid the basis for the understanding of the NMR line shape in dipole-dipole coupled solids and is still the test case for NMR line shape theory. Van Vleck had theoretically shown that the increase of the fourth moment leads to a narrowing of the central part of the spectrum. Norberg and Lowe observed this motional narrowing effect in solids. They extended this work by investigating the change of the line shape under molecular reorientation in rigid solids and in polymers. Finally this led to the line narrowing method by magic angle spinning.