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Robert Hofstadter Ph.D.

The Nobel Prize in Physics, 1961
Nobel co-recipient Rudolf Mössbauer
National Medal of Science - Physical Science 1986

Nuclear and particle physicist. Discoverer of sodium iodide scintillation counters. Carried out electron scattering from atomic nuclei, revealing structure of nuclei and nucleons. Original proposer of two-mile SLAC linear accelerator. Pioneer of gamma-ray astronomy, using EGRET detector aboard the Compton observatory. Research in laser fusion, applications of physics to medicine.


  1. The Nobel Prize is given as a personal award but it also honors the field of research in which I have worked and it also honors my students and colleagues.
  2. Enrico Fermi once expressed the idea that if one examined the natural rate of evolution of accelerators, soon it would be clear that one would be built to encircle the earth. The building of such an accelerator would involve the efforts of a large fraction of all living humanity. I am not herewith proposing that such an accelerator should be built, but one step in this direction is the recent authorization of a two-mile-long linear accelerator at Stanford University. Surely the large effort that Fermi had in mind would serve to bind together the peoples of many lands and this is something I regard as a good thing. I hope that international cooperation can be obtained in such affairs as well as in the normal relations between nations.
Robert Hofstadter
Painting Tim Timpkins - PaintHistory.com

Name: Robert Hofstadter
Birth: 5 February 1915, New York, NY, USA
Death: 17 November 1990, Stanford, CA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for his pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his thereby achieved discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleons"
Field: nuclear physics
Honoring Hofstadter

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