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Robert Hofstadter

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Robert Hofstadter

Robert Hofstadter
Robert Hofstadter (1961, Nobel Foundation photo)
Born (1915-02-05)February 5, 1915
New York City
Died November 17, 1990(1990-11-17) (aged 75)
Stanford, California
Nationality United States
Fields Physics
Institutions Stanford University
University of Pennsylvania
Alma mater City College of New York
Princeton University
Known for Electron scattering
Atomic nuclei
Sodium iodide scintillator
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physics (1961)
National Medal of Science (1986)
Dirac Medal (1987)
Spouse Nancy (Givan) Hofstadter (3 children) (1920-2007)
Signature

Robert Hofstadter (February 5, 1915 – November 17, 1990) was an American physicist. He was the joint winner of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics (together with Rudolf Mössbauer) "for his pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his consequent discoveries concerning the structure of nucleons".[1][2]

Contents

  • Biography 1
  • Opus 2
    • Thallium-activated sodium iodide gamma ray detector 2.1
    • Coining of the fermi (unit) and 1961 Nobel Lecture 2.2
    • Compton Gamma Ray Observatory and EGRET Telescope 2.3
  • Awards and honors 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • Publication list 7
  • External links 8

Biography

Hofstadter was born into a Jewish family[3][4] in New York City on February 5, 1915, to Polish immigrants, Louis Hofstadter, a salesman, and the former Henrietta Koenigsberg.[5] He attended elementary and high schools in New York City and entered City College of New York, graduating with a B.S. degree magna cum laude in 1935 at the age of 20, and was awarded the Kenyon Prize in Mathematics and Physics. He also received a Charles A. Coffin Foundation Fellowship from the General Electric Company, which enabled him to attend graduate school at Princeton University, where he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the age of 23.[6] He did his post-doctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania and was an assistant professor at Princeton before joining Stanford University. Hofstadter taught at Stanford from 1950 to 1985.

In 1942 he married Nancy Givan (1920–2007), a native of Baltimore.[7] They had three children: Laura, Molly - who was disabled and not able to communicate,[8] and Pulitzer Prize-winner Douglas Hofstadter.[9]

Opus

Thallium-activated sodium iodide gamma ray detector

In 1948 Hofstadter filed a patent on this for the detection of ionizing radiation by this crystal.[10][11] These detectors are widely used for gamma ray detection to this day.

Coining of the fermi (unit) and 1961 Nobel Lecture

Robert Hofstadter coined the term fermi (unit), symbol fm, [12] in honor of the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi (1901–1954), one of the founders of nuclear physics, in Hofstadter's 1956 paper published in the Reviews of Modern Physics journal, "Electron Scattering and Nuclear Structure".[13] The term is widely used by nuclear and particle physicists. When Hofstadter was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics, it subsequently appears in the text of his 1961 Nobel Lecture, "The electron-scattering method and its application to the structure of nuclei and nucleons" (December 11, 1961).[14]

Compton Gamma Ray Observatory and EGRET Telescope

In his last few years, Hofstadter became interested in astrophysics and applied his knowledge of scintillators to the design of the EGRET gamma-ray telescope of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory named for fellow Nobel Laureate in Physics (1927), Arthur Holly Compton. Stanford University's Department of Physics credits Hofstadter with being "one of the principal scientists who developed the Compton Observatory."[15]

Awards and honors

See also

References

  1. ^ R. W. McAllister & Robert Hofstadter, "Elastic Scattering of 188 MeV Electrons from Proton and the Alpha Particle," Physical Review, V102, p. 851 (1956).
  2. ^ Robert Hofstadter, "The Electron Scattering Method & its Application to the Structure of Nuclei and Nucleons," Nobel Lectures, Physics 1942-1962, pp. 560-581, Elsevier Pub. Co., Amsterdam-London-New York (Dec 1961).
  3. ^ "Dr. Robert Hofstadter, U.S. Jewish Scientist, Wins 1961 Nobel Prize".  
  4. ^ "Robert Hofstadter biography". NNDB. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "Guide to the Robert Hofstadter Papers". Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Robert Hofstadter biography". Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  7. ^ Obituary to Nancy Givan from Stanford University, 2007.
  8. ^ Doug Hofstadter's dedication to 'I am a strange loop'.
  9. ^ National Academy of Sciences biography
  10. ^ US patent 2585551, Robert Hofstadter, "Means for detecting ionizing radiations" 
  11. ^ "Robert Hofstadter" Biographical Memoirs National Academy of Sciences
  12. ^ "American National Standard for Metric Practice". IEEE Standards Library. IEEE/ASTM SI 10-2010 (Revision of IEEE/ASTM SI 10-2002) (IEEE): 78. 11 April 2011.  
  13. ^ Hofstadter, Robert, Department of Physics, Stanford University, Stanford, California, "Electron Scattering and Nuclear Structure", Rev. Mod. Phys. 28, 214–254 (1956) © 1956 The American Physical Society
  14. ^ Hofstadter, Robert "The electron-scattering method and its application to the structure of nuclei and nucleons", Nobel Lecture (December 11, 1961)
  15. ^ "The Hofstadter Memorial Lectures". Stanford University. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  16. ^ R. W. McAllister & Robert Hofstadter, "Elastic Scattering of 188 MeV Electrons from Proton and the Alpha Particle," Physical Review, V102, p. 851 (1956).
  17. ^ Robert Hofstadter "The Electron Scattering Method & its Application to the Structure of Nuclei and Nucleons", Nobel Lectures, Physics 1942-1962, pp. 560-581, Elsevier Pub. Co., Amsterdam-London-New York (Dec 1961).

Further reading

  • Hofstadter, Robert, "The electron-scattering method and its application to the structure of nuclei and nucleons", Nobel Lecture (December 11, 1961)
  • Hofstadter, Robert, "Robert Hofstadter's speech at the Nobel Banquet", The Nobel Foundation, Stockholm, December 10, 1961.
  • Flint, Peter B., "Obituary: Dr. Robert Hofstadter Dies at 75; Won Nobel Prize in Physics in '61", The New York Times, November 19, 1990.

Publication list

Technical reports:

External links

  • Biography and Bibliographic Resources, from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, United States Department of Energy
  • Robert Hofstadter Memorial Lectures, annually presented at the Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences, Department of Physics and as of March 2011 listed under individual years' calendars in the Department's official pages at the Stanford University website
  • National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoir
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