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James Rainwater

James RainwaterAKA Leo James Rainwater

Born: 9-Dec-1917
Birthplace: Council, ID
Died: 31-May-1986
Location of death: Yonkers, NY
Cause of death: Heart Failure

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

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Determined shapes of nuclei

Military service: Office of Scientific Research and Development

American physicist James Rainwater reconciled two opposing theories of the atom — the "shell" model with its independent particles, and the "liquid drop" model that proposed collective motion. Rainwater's explanation, published in 1950, showed that atomic nuclei are not always spherical, as had been generally believed, and explained both the individual motions of nuclear particles and how these factors affect the collective behavior and sometimes asymmetrical shape of the nucleus. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1975.

Father: Leo Jaspar Rainwater (civil engineer, b. 1884, d. 1918 influenza pandemic)
Mother: Edna Eliza Teague Rainwater Fowler (b. 1889)
Father: George Fowler (stepfather)
Brother: George Fowler, Jr. (half-brother, Naval officer)
Wife: Emma Louise Smith (m. 1942, d. 2005, three sons, one daughter)
Son: James
Son: Robert
Son: William
Daughter: Elizabeth Ann (d. childhood, leukemia)

    University: BS, California Institute of Technology (1939)
    University: PhD, Columbia University (1946)
    Scholar: Physics Assistant, Columbia University (1939-42)
    Lecturer: Physics, Columbia University (1946-47)
    Teacher: Physics, Columbia University (1947-52)
    Professor: Physics, Columbia University (1952-82)
    Administrator: Nevis Cyclotron Laboratory, Columbia University (1951-53, 1956-61)
    Professor: Pupin Professor of Physics, Columbia University (1982-86)

    E. O. Lawrence Award 1963
    Nobel Prize for Physics 1975 (with Aage N. Bohr and Ben R. Mottelson)
    Manhattan Project
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Association of Physics Teachers
    American Institute of Physics
    American Physical Society
    IEEE
    National Academy of Sciences 1968
    New York Academy of Sciences
    Optical Society of America
    Heart Attack 1985
    Heart Attack 31-May-1986 (fatal)
    English Ancestry (paternal)


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