Nobel Prize Award for Physics 1958 to 1962

About the Nobel Prize Award for Physics 1958 to 1962 including the scientists Cherenkov and Glaser, their works, and history.


1958 Pavel A. Cherenkov (1904- ), Russian

Ilya M. Frank (1908- ), Russian

Igor Y. Tamm (1895-1971), Russian

Work: Discovery of the Cherenkov effect, that radiated electrons pass through water faster than light does

Nobel Laureates: Born in Voronezh, Cherenkov attended the local university and conducted his prize-winning experiments in 1934. He earned the Stalin Prize in 1946. Currently, he works at the Physics Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. He resides in Moscow.

Frank was born in Leningrad. He earned degrees at Moscow University, where he has taught since 1944. He helped work out the theoretical side of the Cherenkov effect, serving as Tamm's assistant. From 1934 to 1957 he headed the nuclear physics effort of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Concurrently with his teaching post, he has directed since 1957 the Joint Nuclear Research Institute at Dubna, near Moscow.

Born in Vladivostok and raised in the Ukraine, Tamm studied physics at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland before the outbreak of W.W. I called him home. He helped negotiate the nuclear test ban treaty of 1963. He was an outspoken critic of Russian bureaucracy. He did not belong to the Communist party. From his school days at Edinburgh, he spoke English with a Scottish accent.

Nobel Lore: French scientist Lucien Mallet protested the award to the Russian trio on the grounds that he had discovered and written about what came to be called the Cherenkov effect back in 1926, eight years before Cherenkov completed his experiments. The three men splitting the $41,420 prize money were the first Russians to win the Nobel honor in physics. The Soviets saw it as belated international recognition of the state of Soviet science and technology.

1959 Emilio G. Segre (1905- ), American (b. Italy)

Owen Chamberlain (1920- ), American

Work: Discovery of the antiproton, a particle with the mass of a proton but bearing a negative charge

1960 Donald A. Glaser (1926- ), American

Work: Invention of the bubble chamber to study subatomic particles

1961 Robert Hofstadter (1915- ), American

Work: Investigation of atomic nuclei and discoveries related to the structure of nucleons

Rudolf L. Mossbauer (1929- ), German

Work: Discovery of a way to produce and measure recoil-free gamma rays--the "Mossbauer method"

1962 Lev Landau (1908-1968), Russian

Work: Studies on liquid helium and other condensed gases

Nobel Laureate: Born in Baku, a Caspian seaport, Landau inherited a keen intellect from his father, an engineer, and his mother, a doctor. He reportedly taught himself calculus while still a young child. A disciple of Niels Bohr, the 1922 Nobel physics laureate, he headed the theoretical department of the Physics-Technical Institute at Kharkov. He was then lured to Moscow's Institute for Physical Problems, where in 1940 and 1941 he conducted the experiments on helium which would earn him the Nobel Prize. Like other Nobel physics laureates, Landau worked on an atomic bomb research project--the Soviet one, of course. A rather easygoing fellow who liked people, Landau ("Dau" to friends) did not take his communism too seriously and was described by one intimate as "a salon Communist."

Nobel Lore: Nine months before his selection was announced, Landau was involved in a head-on collision with a truck. His heart stopped several times during the next few days, but he pulled through. Still too weak for the trip to Stockholm later that year, he sent his wife and son to fetch the $50,000 Nobel check.

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