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Rudolf Mössbauer

Rudolf MössbauerAKA Rudolf Ludwig Mössbauer

Born: 31-Jan-1929
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: 14-Sep-2011
Location of death: Grünwald, Germany
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Discovered Mössbauer effect

In 1957, Rudolf Mössbauer provided experimental proof of recoilless nuclear resonance absorption — the emission without recoil of gamma rays by radioactive nuclei of crystalline solids, and the way these emitted rays are subsequently absorbed by other nuclei. This was crucial because the absorption and emission was performed by atoms while in a solid form, which meant that there could be no Doppler broadening of the lines from the chaotic motion of the atoms, so the otherwise expected recoil energy is instead distributed across all atoms in the lattice. Called the Mössbauer effect or nuclear gamma resonance fluorescence, this finding led to new efforts in spectroscopy which have been widely used in biological sciences, nuclear physics, inorganic and structural chemistry, solid state studies, and several other related fields.

Mössbauer won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1961, sharing the honor with Robert Hofstadter. Mössbauer also investigated electroweak theory, neutrinos, neutrons, and the conversion of hydrogen into helium. He has been retired since 1997.

Father: Ludwig Mössbauer
Mother: Erna Ernst
Wife: Elisabeth Pritz (one daughter)
Daughter: Suzi
Wife: Christel Braun (one son, one daughter)
Son: Peter
Daughter: Regine

    University: BS Physics, Technical University of Munich (1955)
    Scholar: Physics, Max Planck Institute, Heidelberg (1955-57)
    University: PhD, Max Planck Institute, Heidelberg (1958)
    Scholar: Physics, California Institute of Technology (1960-61)
    Professor: Physics, California Institute of Technology (1961-64)
    Professor: Experimental Physics, Technical University of Munich (1964-72)
    Administrator: Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble, France (1972-77)
    Professor: Experimental Physics, Technical University of Munich (1977-97)

    Nobel Prize for Physics 1961 (with Robert Hofstadter)
    Albert Einstein Medal 1986
    Pontifical Academy of Sciences


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