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Bethe, Hans A. (Hans Albrecht), 1906-2005 (Physicist, Nobel Laureate)



  • Existence: 1906 - 2005


Background: Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1967.
Biographical/Historical Description: The recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1967 for his work on nuclear reactions in stars, Bethe was born in Strasbourg and educated at the University of Frankfurt and at the University of Munich, where he earned a PhD in 1928 under A. Sommerfeld at the Institute for Theoretical Physics. From 1928 to 1933, Bethe held a variety of teaching positions in Germany, also visiting the Physics Institute of the University of Rome in Via Panisperna 89A in 1931 and 1932. Hitler's rise to power forced Bethe from the University of Tübingen in 1933. Two years later he became an assistant professor at Cornell University, garnering a full professorship there in 1937. Bethe first visited Caltech in 1940 and continued to spend time regularly there throughout his long career.
Biographical/Historical Collection Notes: Oral History in two sessions, 1982 and 1993. This 47-page interview by Judith R. Goodstein begins with Bethe's impressions and reminiscences of Caltech, including L. Pauling, R. Millikan, T. von Kármán, F. Zwicky, C. C. Lauritsen, W. A. Fowler, R. Feynman and R. F. Bacher. He discusses his relations with other prominent physicists, including E. Teller, N. Bohr and J. R. Oppenheimer. He also describes his first impressions of nuclear physics, the political climate in Italy in the 1930s, and the Rome school of physics, including E. Fermi, F. Rasetti, and E. Segrè. The 1993 interview concerns R. Bacher at Cornell and at work on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos during World War II under Oppenheimer.

Photo of Hans A. Bethe (PhotoNet).

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records: