Robert Hofstadter
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Robert Hofstadter Childhood, Facts, Scientists - 𝐑𝐨𝐛𝐞𝐫𝐭 𝐇𝐨𝐟𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐝𝐭𝐞𝐫 Biography
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Nancy Givan
ХофштадтерРоберт
Douglas HofstadterLaura HofstadterMolly Hofstadter
Princeton University,University Of Pennsylvania1938 - Princeton University1935 - City College of New York1939 - University of Pennsylvania
Princeton UniversityUniversity Of Pennsylvania
New York City
Male
Louis Hofstadter
Henrietta Koenigsberg
Aquarius
New York City
75
Stanford
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Who is Robert Hofstadter?

undefined - Robert HofstadterRobert Hofstadter

Robert Hofstadter was an American physicist famous for his discoveries concerning the structure of nucleons. His in-depth investigation of electron scattering in atomic nuclei led to the determination of the size and shape of the proton and the neutron, and earned him a share of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics which he was jointly awarded with Rudolf Mössbauer. Born into a Jewish family in New York, he grew up to be a brilliant student who excelled in the sciences and mathematics. He graduated magna cum laude from the City College of New York and was awarded a Charles A. Coffin Foundation Fellowship to attend graduate school at Princeton University. Armed with a doctorate degree by the time he was 23, he served as a physicist at the National Bureau of Standards during World War II before embarking on an academic career. He worked for a while at the Princeton University where he carried out research on crystal conduction counters, on the Compton effect. After leaving Princeton, he moved to Stanford University where he focused his efforts on electron-scattering measurements. In the later stages of his career he grew interested in astrophysics and played a major role in the development of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.

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Robert Hofstadter Childhood & Early Life

Robert Hofstadter was born on February 5, 1915, in New York to Polish immigrants, Louis Hofstadter, a salesman, and his wife, Henrietta Koenigsberg. His family was Jewish.

After attending elementary and high schools in New York City, he enrolled at the City College of New York, graduating with a B.S. degree magna cum laude in 1935. An excellent student, he became the recipient of the Kenyon Prize in Mathematics and Physics.

He was also awarded the Coffin Fellowship by the General Electric Company which enabled him to attend graduate school at Princeton University where he studied physics. He received both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in 1938 from that institution.

Upon completing his doctorate degree by the age of 23, he was awarded a Procter Fellowship at Princeton University for postdoctoral work in 1938-39. During this time he began the study of photoconductivity in willemite crystals which laid the foundation for his future works.

In 1939, he received the Harrison Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania where he continued his postdoctoral work. There he met L. I. Schiff who became his friend for many years. It was at Pennsylvania that he helped to construct a large Van de Graaff machine for nuclear research.

Robert Hofstadter Career

During the World War II he served as a physicist at the National Bureau of Standards. There he was pivotal in developing the proximity fuse, an anti-aircraft weapon used to detonate anti-aircraft and other artillery shells. He also worked at the Norden Laboratory Corporation during the war years.

He embarked on an academic career once the war ended. He joined the faculty of Princeton in 1946 where he primarily dealt with the study of infrared rays, photoconductivity, and crystal and scintillation counters. He filed a patent for thallium-activated sodium iodide gamma ray detector in 1948.

In 1950, he left Princeton to join the Stanford University as Associate Professor of Physics. There he initiated research on electron-scattering and continued working on scintillation counters and developed new detectors for neutrons and X-rays.

From 1953 onwards, he focused mainly on electron-scattering measurements. Working together with his students and colleagues, he studied the charge distribution in atomic nuclei and made the use of the linear electron accelerator to measure and explore the constituents of atomic nuclei.

In 1956, he published a paper ‘Electron Scattering and Nuclear Structure’ in ‘Reviews of Modern Physics’ journal in which he coined the term “Fermi”, symbol “fm” in honor of the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, one of the founders of nuclear physics. The term is widely used by nuclear and particle physicists.

He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1958-59, and spent one year at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, on sabbatical leave. He retired from Stanford in 1985.

During the final years of his life, he developed a deep interest in astrophysics and was instrumental in the design and development of the EGRET gamma-ray telescope of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.

Robert Hofstadter Major Works

Robert Hofstadter is best remembered for his research in electron scattering in atomic nuclei. He not only discovered that protons and neutrons—the fundamental constituents of the nuclei of atoms—have a definite size and form, but also determined that precise size of the proton and neutron. He also provided the first "reasonably consistent" picture of the structure of the atomic nucleus.

Robert Hofstadter Awards & Achievements

Robert Hofstadter received a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1961 "for his pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his thereby achieved discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleons."

He was honored with the National Medal of Science in 1986.

Robert Hofstadter Personal Life & Legacy

Robert Hofstadter married Nancy Givan in 1942. The couple had three children. His son, Douglas, is a Pulitzer Prize winner.

He died of a heart attack on November 17, 1990, in Stanford, California, at the age of 75.

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Robert Hofstadter awards

  • Other

    • 1987
      Dirac Medal for the Advancement of Theoretical Physics
    • 1986
      National Medal of Science for Physical Science
    • 1961 - Nobel Prize in Physics
    • 1958 - Guggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences
    • US & Canada
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Robert Hofstadter biography timelines

  • Robert Hofstadter was born on February 5, 1915, in New York to Polish immigrants, Louis Hofstadter, a salesman, and his wife, Henrietta Koenigsberg. His family was Jewish.
    5th Feb 1915
  • After attending elementary and high schools in New York City, he enrolled at the City College of New York, graduating with a B.S. degree magna cum laude in 1935. An excellent student, he became the recipient of the Kenyon Prize in Mathematics and Physics.
    1935
  • He was also awarded the Coffin Fellowship by the General Electric Company which enabled him to attend graduate school at Princeton University where he studied physics. He received both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in 1938 from that institution.
    1938
  • Upon completing his doctorate degree by the age of 23, he was awarded a Procter Fellowship at Princeton University for postdoctoral work in 1938-39. During this time he began the study of photoconductivity in willemite crystals which laid the foundation for his future works.
    1938
  • In 1939, he received the Harrison Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania where he continued his postdoctoral work. There he met L. I. Schiff who became his friend for many years. It was at Pennsylvania that he helped to construct a large Van de Graaff machine for nuclear research.
    1939
  • Robert Hofstadter married Nancy Givan in 1942. The couple had three children. His son, Douglas, is a Pulitzer Prize winner.
    1942
  • He embarked on an academic career once the war ended. He joined the faculty of Princeton in 1946 where he primarily dealt with the study of infrared rays, photoconductivity, and crystal and scintillation counters. He filed a patent for thallium-activated sodium iodide gamma ray detector in 1948.
    1946 To 1948
  • In 1950, he left Princeton to join the Stanford University as Associate Professor of Physics. There he initiated research on electron-scattering and continued working on scintillation counters and developed new detectors for neutrons and X-rays.
    1950
  • From 1953 onwards, he focused mainly on electron-scattering measurements. Working together with his students and colleagues, he studied the charge distribution in atomic nuclei and made the use of the linear electron accelerator to measure and explore the constituents of atomic nuclei.
    1953
  • In 1956, he published a paper ‘Electron Scattering and Nuclear Structure’ in ‘Reviews of Modern Physics’ journal in which he coined the term “Fermi”, symbol “fm” in honor of the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, one of the founders of nuclear physics. The term is widely used by nuclear and particle physicists.
    1956
  • He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1958-59, and spent one year at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, on sabbatical leave. He retired from Stanford in 1985.
    1958 To 1985
  • Robert Hofstadter received a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1961 "for his pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his thereby achieved discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleons."
    1961
  • He was honored with the National Medal of Science in 1986.
    1986
  • He died of a heart attack on November 17, 1990, in Stanford, California, at the age of 75.
    17th Nov 1990
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Frequently asked questions about Robert Hofstadter

  • What is Robert Hofstadter birthday?

    Robert Hofstadter was born at February 5, 1915

  • Where is Robert Hofstadter's birth place?

    Robert Hofstadter was born in New York City

  • What is Robert Hofstadter nationalities?

    Robert Hofstadter's nationalities is American

  • Who is Robert Hofstadter spouses?

    Robert Hofstadter's spouses is Nancy Givan

  • Who is Robert Hofstadter childrens?

    Robert Hofstadter's childrens is Douglas Hofstadter, Laura Hofstadter, Molly Hofstadter

  • What was Robert Hofstadter universities?

    Robert Hofstadter studied at Princeton University,University Of Pennsylvania, 1938 - Princeton University, 1935 - City College of New York, 1939 - University of Pennsylvania university

  • What was Robert Hofstadter notable alumnis?

    Robert Hofstadter's notable alumnis is Princeton University, University Of Pennsylvania

  • Who is Robert Hofstadter's father?

    Robert Hofstadter's father is Louis Hofstadter

  • Who is Robert Hofstadter's mother?

    Robert Hofstadter's mother is Henrietta Koenigsberg

  • What is Robert Hofstadter's sun sign?

    Robert Hofstadter is Aquarius

  • When was Robert Hofstadter died?

    Robert Hofstadter was died at November 17, 1990

  • Where was Robert Hofstadter died?

    Robert Hofstadter was died in Stanford

  • Which age was Robert Hofstadter died?

    Robert Hofstadter was died at age 75