Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am looking for a little history on shot noise: when was it first predicted and first measured?

In particular, what was the role of Schottky? His 1918 paper "Über spontane Stromschwankungen in verschiedenen Elektrizitätsleitern" (Annalen der Physik, Vol. 362, No. 23. (1918)) is sometimes cited as the original observation of the effect. Can anyone point me to an English translation of this article?

Sometimes it is even said that the "shot" in shot noise is short for Schottky (in addition to conjuring the obvious metaphor)--is there any truth to this is or is it sort of a backronym?

share|cite|improve this question
I don't know a translation, but a quick glance makes it clear that Schottky himself refers to the noise he sees as "Waermeeffekt" (thermal effect) and "Schroteffect" (literally shot effect). Whoever told you it was short for Schottky is likely pulling your leg. – wsc Sep 17 '11 at 1:11

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.