Kristian Birkeland with his Terella experiment. The metal sphere was his model Earth, while the vacuum glass container was space. When Birkeland sent particles toward the sphere, the Polar Regions glowed. Credit: University of Oslo.
Kristian Olaf Bernhard Birkeland (13 December 1867 – 15 June 1917) was a Norwegian scientist. He is best remembered as the person who first elucidated the nature of the Aurora borealis. In order to fund his research on the aurorae, he invented the electromagnetic cannon and the Birkeland-Eyde process of fixing nitrogen from the air. Birkeland was nominated for the Nobel Prize seven times