Bethe, Hans A. (Hans Albrecht), 1906-2005

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1906-07-02
Death 2005-03-06
US
English

Biographical notes:

Physicist.

From the description of Hans Albrecht Bethe oral histories, 1966-1981. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 63935483

Alsatian-born American physicist, winner of the 1967 Nobel Prize for physics.

From the description of Typed letter signed : Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, to Samuel Goudsmit, 1936 June 6. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270953107

Unpublished document written as chapter 13 of the Smyth Report. Letters about it were originally secret between Smyth and Oppenheimer. The decision was made by Smyth to omit this because it gave away too much information.

From the description of The story of the Los Alamos laboratory. [1945] (University of Florida). WorldCat record id: 100426144

Theoretical physicist. Major affiliations include: University of Manchester, 1933-1934; University of Bristol, 1934-1935; Cornell University, 1935-

From the description of Transparencies used to illustrate talks at the Hans Bethe 60th Birthday Symposium, 1966. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 84461589

Hans Albrecht Bethe (1906-2005) was among the most prominent physicists of the twentieth century, most famous for his work on the Manhattan Project during World War II, and for his Nobel prize-winning work on solar energy (1967).

Born in Strasbourg, Bethe studied physics at Frankfurt and under Arnold Sommerfeld at the University of Munich. In 1930 he received a fellowship to Cambridge. He began his professional career at universities in Germany, and also worked with Enrico Fermi in Rome in the early 1930's. Although Bethe did not consider himself a Jew, his mother had Jewish ancestry, and thus he was removed from his university position at Tuebingen under the Nuremberg laws once Hitler came to power. He emigrated first to a position at Manchester, and then to Cornell University in 1935, where he would teach for the rest of his career.

In his early years at Cornell, Bethe formulated his theory of how stars produce energy, an achievement that would win him the Nobel Prize in 1967. Further notable accomplishments included his work on the Lamb Shift, his famous three-part summary of nuclear physics, and his post-retirement collaboration with Gerry Brown on supernovae and neutrinos.

During World War II, he headed the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory as part of the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. Despite his concerns about escalating the nuclear arms race, he assisted in the development of the Hydrogen bomb in the 1950's. Through these experiences, he became a vocal adversary of the nuclear arms race and control, opposing programs such as the Strategic Defense Initiative, and arguing in favor of anti-proliferation and test ban treaties, including SALT I and II. He was also an impassioned supporter of nuclear power as a solution to American energy needs. He was involved in policy throughout his adult life, as a science advisor to several presidents, as someone who frequently testified before Congress on issues of scientific importance, and as an advocate for the role of scientists in public affairs.

He also performed extensive consulting work for the U.S. government and American labs, such as the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and the Oakridge and Lawrence Livermore Laboratories. He also did consulting work for businesses such as Avco. Such consulting work generally related either to nuclear energy, or to defense.

After immigrating to the United States, he reconnected with Rose Ewald, daughter of his earlier physics mentor, Peter Paul Ewald. They married in 1939, and had two children, Henry and Monica. He retired from Cornell in 1975, but continued his astrophysics research and continued to be an expert on thermonuclear processes, shock waves, and neutrino reactions.

Bethe died at age 98 in 2005, having continued to participate in scientific study and policy until late in his life.

Physicist, Cornell University professor of physics, Nobel laureate.

From the description of Hans Bethe papers, [ca. 1931]-1992. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 123439230

Hans Albrecht Bethe (1906-2005) was among the most prominent physicists of the twentieth century, most famous for his work on the Manhattan Project during World War II, and for his Nobel prize-winning work on solar energy (1967).

Physicist, Cornell University professor of physics, Nobel laureate.

Born in Strasbourg, Bethe studied physics at Frankfurt and under Arnold Sommerfeld at the University of Munich. In 1930 he received a fellowship to Cambridge. He began his professional career at universities in Germany, and also worked with Enrico Fermi in Rome in the early 1930's. Although Bethe did not consider himself a Jew, his mother had Jewish ancestry, and thus he was removed from his university position at Tuebingen under the Nuremberg laws once Hitler came to power. He emigrated first to a position at Manchester, and then to Cornell University in 1935, where he would teach for the rest of his career.

In his early years at Cornell, Bethe formulated his theory of how stars produce energy, an achievement that would win him the Nobel Prize in 1967. Further notable accomplishments included his work on the Lamb Shift, his famous three-part summary of nuclear physics, and his post-retirement collaboration with Gerry Brown on supernovae and neutrinos.

During World War II, he headed the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory as part of the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. Despite his concerns about escalating the nuclear arms race, he assisted in the development of the Hydrogen bomb in the 1950's. Through these experiences, he became a vocal adversary of the nuclear arms race and control, opposing programs such as the Strategic Defense Initiative, and arguing in favor of anti-proliferation and test ban treaties, including SALT I and II. He was also an impassioned supporter of nuclear power as a solution to American energy needs. He was involved in policy throughout his adult life, as a science advisor to several presidents, as someone who frequently testified before Congress on issues of scientific importance, and as an advocate for the role of scientists in public affairs.

He also performed extensive consulting work for the U.S. government and American labs, such as the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and the Oakridge and Lawrence Livermore Laboratories. He also did consulting work for businesses such as Avco. Such consulting work generally related either to nuclear energy, or to defense.

After immigrating to the United States, he reconnected with Rose Ewald, daughter of his earlier physics mentor, Peter Paul Ewald. They married in 1939, and had two children, Henry and Monica. He retired from Cornell in 1975, but continued his astrophysics research and continued to be an expert on thermonuclear processes, shock waves, and neutrino reactions.

Bethe died at age 98 in 2005, having continued to participate in scientific study and policy until late in his life.

From the guide to the Hans Bethe papers, [ca. 1931]-1995, (Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library)



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Subjects:

  • Radioactivity
  • Physics--Study and teaching
  • Stellar energy
  • Solid state physics
  • Science and state
  • Cyclotrons
  • Supernovae
  • Arms control.
  • Nuclear disarmament
  • Physicists.
  • Atomic bomb--History
  • Nobel prizes
  • Astrophysics
  • Anti-missile missiles.
  • Beta decay
  • Physicists
  • Strategic Defense Initiative.
  • Nuclear liquid drop model
  • Science--History
  • Nobel Prizes
  • Radiation.
  • Nuclear energy.
  • Nuclear physics
  • Quantum theory.
  • Quantum theory
  • Many-body problem
  • Nuclear models
  • Hydrogen bomb
  • Solar energy--Research.
  • Neutrons
  • Metals.
  • Nuclear nonproliferation.
  • Supernovae.
  • Metals
  • Nuclear optical models
  • Nuclear weapons--Testing
  • Nuclear explosions
  • Nuclear forces (Physics)
  • Atomic theory
  • Strategic Defense Initiative
  • Arms control
  • Solids
  • Nuclear shell theory
  • Matter--Constitution
  • Nuclear energy
  • Nuclear collective models
  • Nuclear weapons--Testing.
  • Evaporation
  • Nuclear physics--Research
  • College teachers.
  • Neutrino
  • Particle accelerators
  • Nuclear nonproliferation
  • Anti-missile missiles
  • Science and state--United States.
  • Radiation
  • Physics--Study and teaching.
  • Nuclear physics--Research.
  • Nuclear explosions.
  • Alpha decay
  • College teachers
  • Solar energy--Research
  • Astrophysics.
  • Compound nucleus
  • Nuclear arms control--History
  • Neutrinos

Occupations:

  • Physicists--Interviews.
  • Physicists.

Places:

  • Germany (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Germany (as recorded)