Hans Bethe

Hans Bethe

Hans Bethe

Birth : Hans Albrecht Bethe (1906-07-02)July 2, 1906 Strasbourg,Germany

Death : March 6, 2005(2005-03-06)(aged 98) Ithaca, New York, United States

Personal Information

Name Hans Bethe
Birth (1906-07-02)July 2, 1906 Strasbourg,Germany
Birth Place Strasbourg,Germany
Death (2005-03-06)(aged 98) Ithaca, New York, United States
Died At Ithaca, New York, United States
Nationality German American
Alma Mater University of Frankfurt University of Munich
Fields Nuclear physics
Institution ,University of Tübingen,Cornell University,University of Bristol,University of Manchester)
Famous Research Nuclear physics,Stellar nucleosynthesis,Quantum electrodynamics,Crystal field theory,Bethe–Salpeter equation,Bethe-Slater curve,Bethe formula,Bethe-Heitler formula,Bethe–Feynman formula,Mott-Bethe formula,Bethe lattice,Bethe ansatz,Bethe–Weizsäcker formula,Bethe–Weizsäcker process
Doctoral Advisor Arnold Sommerfeld

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Events Occured in Scienctist Life


Hans Albrecht Bethe (German: ; July 2, 1906 – March 6, 2005) was a German-American nuclear physicist who made important contributions to astrophysics, quantum electrodynamics, and solid-state physics, and who won the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis.


There he played a key role in calculating the critical mass of the weapons and developing the theory behind the implosion method used in both the Trinity test and the "Fat Man" weapon dropped on Nagasaki in August 1945.


He helped persuade the Kennedy and Nixon administrations to sign, respectively, the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (SALT I).


Early years Bethe was born in Strasbourg, which was then part of Germany, on July 2, 1906, the only child of Anna (née Kuhn) and Albrecht Bethe, a privatdozent of physiology at the University of Strasbourg.


His father accepted a position as professor and director of the Institute of Physiology at the University of Kiel in 1912, and the family moved into the director's apartment at the Institute.


The family moved again in 1915 when his father became the head of the new Institute of Physiology at the University of Frankfurt am Main.


His education was interrupted in 1916, when he contracted tuberculosis, and he was sent to Bad Kreuznach to recuperate.


By 1917, he had recovered sufficiently to attend the local realschule and the following year, he was sent to the Odenwaldschule, a private, coeducational boarding school.


He attended the Goethe-Gymnasium again for his final three years of secondary schooling, from 1922 to 1924.Having passed his abitur, Bethe entered the University of Frankfurt in 1924.


Gerlach left in 1925 and was replaced by Karl Meissner, who advised Bethe that he should go to a university with a better school of theoretical physics, specifically the University of Munich, where he could study under Arnold Sommerfeld.


Bethe entered the University of Munich in April 1926, where Sommerfeld took him on as a student on Meissner's recommendation.


As a starting point, Sommerfeld suggested Paul Ewald's 1914 paper on X-ray diffraction in crystals.


After Bethe received his doctorate, Erwin Madelung offered him an assistantship in Frankfurt, and in September 1928 Bethe moved in with his father, who had recently divorced his mother.


His father had met Vera Congehl earlier that year and married her in 1929.


They had two children, Doris, born in 1933, and Klaus, born in 1934.Bethe did not find the work in Frankfurt very stimulating, and in 1929 he accepted an offer from Ewald at the Technische Hochschule in Stuttgart.


He submitted this paper for his habilitation in 1930.Sommerfeld recommended Bethe for a Rockefeller Foundation Travelling Scholarship in 1929.


In 1930, Bethe chose to do postdoctoral work at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge in England, where he worked under the supervision of Ralph Fowler.


For the second half of his scholarship, Bethe chose to go to Enrico Fermi's laboratory in Rome in February 1931.


The Rockefeller Foundation offered an extension of Bethe's fellowship, allowing him to return to Italy in 1932.


Reviewing the article decades later, Robert Bacher and Victor Weisskopf noted that it was unusual in the depth and breadth of its treatment of the subject that required very little updating for the 1959 edition.


In 1932, Bethe accepted an appointment as an assistant professor at the University of Tübingen, where Hans Geiger was the professor of experimental physics.


Sommerfeld spent much of the summer term of 1933 finding places for Jewish students and colleagues.


Bethe left Germany in 1933, moving to England after receiving an offer for a position as lecturer at the University of Manchester for a year through Sommerfeld's connection to William Lawrence Bragg.


In 1933, the physics department at Cornell was looking for a new theoretical physicist, and Lloyd Smith strongly recommended Bethe.


In August 1934, Cornell offered Bethe a position as an acting assistant professor.


Bethe had already accepted a fellowship for a year to work with Nevill Mott at the University of Bristol for a semester, but Cornell agreed to let him start in the spring of 1935.


Before leaving for the United States, he visited the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen in September 1934, where he proposed to Hilde Levi, who accepted.


Bethe arrived in the United States in February 1935, and joined the faculty at Cornell University on a salary of $3,000.


Gibbs moved to prevent Bethe from being poached by having him appointed as a regular assistant professor in 1936, with an assurance that promotion to professor would soon follow.


On March 17, 1938, Bethe attended the Carnegie Institute and George Washington University's fourth annual Washington Conference of Theoretical Physics.


Gamow and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker had proposed in a 1937 paper that the Sun's energy was the result of a proton–proton chain reaction:


Taking advantage of her Strasbourg origin, she was able to emigrate to the United States in June 1939 on the French quota, rather than the German one, which was full.


It was a breakthrough in the understanding of the stars, and would win Bethe the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967.


In 2002, at age 96, Bethe sent a handwritten note to John N. Bahcall congratulating him on the use of solar neutrino observations to show that the CNO cycle accounts for approximately 7% of the Sun's energy; the neutrino observations had started with Raymond Davis Jr., whose experiment was based on Bahcall's calculations and encouragement, and the note led to Davis's receiving a share of the 2002 Nobel Prize.


Bethe married Rose Ewald, the daughter of Paul Ewald, on September 13, 1939, in a simple civil ceremony.


She had emigrated to the United States and was a student at Duke University and they met while Bethe was lecturing there in 1937.


Writing to Sommerfeld in 1947, Bethe confided that "I am much more at home in America than I ever was in Germany.


After receiving security clearance in December 1941, Bethe joined the MIT Radiation Laboratory, where he invented the Bethe-hole directional coupler, which is used in microwave waveguides such as those used in radar sets.


In Chicago in June 1942, and then in July at the University of California, Berkeley, he participated in a series of meetings at the invitation of Robert Oppenheimer, which discussed the first designs for the atomic bomb.


A series of disagreements between Bethe and Teller between February and June 1944 over the relative priority of Super research led to Teller's group being removed from T Division and placed directly under Oppenheimer.


After August 1944, when the laboratory was reorganized and reoriented to solve the problem of the implosion of the plutonium bomb, Bethe spent much of his time studying the hydrodynamic aspects of implosion, a job that he continued into 1944.


In 1945, he worked on the neutron initiator, and later, on radiation propagation from an exploding atomic bomb.


When it was detonated in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945, Bethe's immediate concern was for its efficient operation, and not its moral implications.


He would later remark in 1968 on the apparent contradiction in his stance, having first opposed the development of the weapon and later helping to create it:


In 1954, Bethe testified on behalf of J. Robert Oppenheimer during the Oppenheimer security hearing.


Specifically, Bethe argued that Oppenheimer's stances against developing the hydrogen bomb in the late 1940s had not hindered its development, a topic which was seen as a key motivating factor behind the hearing.


In June 1947, he participated in the Shelter Island Conference.


His paper, published in the Physical Review in August 1947, was only two pages long and contained just 12 mathematical equations, but was enormously influential.


One of Bethe's most famous papers is one he never wrote: the 1948 Alpher–Bethe–Gamow paper.


In 1978, Brown proposed that they collaborate on supernovae.


The result was a 1998 paper on the "Evolution of Binary Compact Objects Which Merge", which Brown regarded as the best that the two produced together.


In 1968, Bethe, along with IBM physicist Richard Garwin, published an article criticising in detail the anti-ICBM defense system proposed by the Department of Defense.


Bethe was one of the primary voices in the scientific community behind the signing of the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty prohibiting further atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.


During the 1980s and 1990s, Bethe campaigned for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.


Throughout his life Bethe remained a strong advocate for electricity from nuclear energy, which he described in 1977 as "a necessity, not merely an option.


In 1995, at the age of 88, Bethe wrote an open letter calling on all scientists to "cease and desist" from working on any aspect of nuclear weapons development and manufacture.


In 2004, he joined 47 other Nobel laureates in signing a letter endorsing John Kerry for President of the United States as someone who would "restore science to its appropriate place in government".


He died in his home in Ithaca, New York on March 6, 2005 of congestive heart failure.


He became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1947, and that year, he also received the National Academy of Sciences's Henry Draper Medal.


He was awarded the Max Planck Medal in 1955, the Franklin Medal in 1959, the Royal Astronomical Society Eddington Medal and the United States Atomic Energy Commission Enrico Fermi Award in 1961, the Rumford Prize in 1963, the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967, the National Medal of Science in 1975, the Oersted Medal in 1993, the Bruce Medal in 2001, and posthumously in 2005, the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Sciences by the American Philosophical Society.


Bethe was elected Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1957, and he gave the 1993 Bakerian Lecture at the Royal Society on the Mechanism of Supernovae.


In 1978 he was elected a Member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.


An asteroid, 30828 Bethe, that was discovered in 1990 was named after him.