Does anyone happen to know who was the first to use Hooke's law to model vibrational absorption peak frequencies/wavenumbers?

I know Hooke's law is first outlined here:

R. Hooke, Potentia restitutiva, or spring, in Lectiones cutlerianae, or a Collection of lectures: physical, mechanical, geographical, and astronomical, made before the Royal Society on several occasions ... to which are added divers miscellaneous discourses, ed. by J. Martyn (John Martyn, London, 1679), p. 4

But I'd like to know about whose idea it was to use it for spectra.


1 Answer 1


Okay, I think I found an answer. It's a set of four papers which were published consecutively in Physical Review 36 (1930). Interestingly, each was submitted on June 23rd, 1930, which makes me wonder about the back story.

The first comes from General Motors Corporation Research Laboratories in Detroit (Kettering, Shutts, and Andrews). The other three papers are out of Johns Hopkins (Donald Andrews, from Chemistry, and Yates, from Mathematics). I suppose Andrews could have graduated from Hopkins and found that GMCRL was working on the same thing; or perhaps he had a dual appointment.

As a side note, there appears to be a patent suggesting that L. W. Shutts invented shock absorbers, so it makes immediate sense that he would propose the spring law as an explanation.

So Donald Andrews (or at least Johns Hopkins) is the obvious link between GMCRL and Robert C. Yates. Did Andrews know Yates? Was someone about to be scooped? The answer to that is probably beyond the scope of this question.


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