Gamow, George, 1904-1968

Alternative names
Birth 1904-03-04
Death 1968-08-19

Biographical notes:

George Gamow: physicist, astronomer, and author. Born Georgii Antonovič Gamov. Barbara Merrihew Perkins: editor and translator.

From the description of George Gamow and Barbara Gamow papers, 1915-1975 (bulk 1950-1975). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70981157

Russian-born American physicist, early advocate of the "Big Bang" theory of the origin of the universe. Professor of Physics at George Washington University, 1934-1956. While a student at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, Gamow put forth an hypothesis that atomic nuclei can be treated as little droplets of "nuclear fluid." These discoveries led to today's theory of fusion and fission. He studied at Novorossia University during 1922 and 1923 and at the University of Leningrad, 1923-1929. He received his Ph.D in 1928 and traveled to Copenhagen in 1929. Niels Bohr offered him a scholarship from the Royal Danish Academy to study one year at the Institute of Theoretical Physics. After leaving Russia, Gamow accepted the chairmanship of the Physics Department at The George Washington University (GWU). His contribution to astronomy-research is mainly concerned with the origin of the Universe and the stars' evolution. While at GWU, Gamow hired Edward Teller and established a series of seminars in physics and astronomy that ran from 1935 to 1947. In 1938, Gamow and colleague Ralph Alpher wrote a text about the Big bang theory and how matter would have come into existence. Gamow also published numerous popular books on science.

From the description of George Gamow papers, [ca. 1935-ca. 1955]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 50754520

Gamow was on the physics faculty at George Washington University from 1934 to 1956.

From the description of Papers. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 82630835

Theoretical physicist and amateur artist.

From the description of Postcard, 1934 Aug. 7. (Smithsonian Institution Libraries). WorldCat record id: 32748423

From the description of Postcard, 1934 Aug. 7. (Smithsonian Institution Libraries). WorldCat record id: 154324770

Biographical Note

George Gamow

  • 1904, Mar. 4: Born Georgii Antonovic Gamov, Odessa, Russia
  • 1928: Ph.D., physical science, University of Leningrad, Leningrad, USSR
  • 1928 - 1929 : Institute of Theoretical Physics, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 1929 - 1930 : Rockefeller fellow, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England
  • 1931: Married Lyubov Rho Vokhminzeva (divorced 1956) Published The Constitution of Atomic Nuclei and Radioactivity. Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • 1931 - 1933 : Professor, University of Leningrad, Leningrad, USSR
  • 1933 - 1934 : Lecturer, Paris, France, London, England, and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • 1934 - 1956 : Professor of physics, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
  • 1935: Collaborated with Edward Teller on the theory of beta-decay, and formulated the so-called "Gamow-Teller Selection Rule for Beta Emission"
  • 1939: Proposed neutrino theory of supernovae Published Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • 1940: Became naturalized American citizen Published The Birth and Death of the Sun. New York: Viking Press
  • 1941: Published Biography of the Earth; Its Past, Present, and Future. New York: Viking Press
  • 1942: Shell model of red giant stars
  • 1947: Published One, Two, Three...Infinity. New York: Viking Press
  • 1948: Theory of the origin of chemical elements
  • 1952: Published The Creation of the Universe. New York: Viking Press
  • 1956: Awarded Kalinga Prize by Unesco for popularization of science
  • 1956 - 1968 : Professor of physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.
  • 1958: Published Matter, Earth, and Sky. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall Married Barbara Merrihew Perkins
  • 1961: Published Biography of Physics. New York: Harper
  • 1968, Aug. 20: Died, Boulder, Colo.
  • 1970: Posthumous publication My World Line. New York: Viking Press

Barbara Gamow

  • 1905, May 22: Born Barbara Merrihew Perkins, San Francisco, Calif.
  • 1938: Married J. R. de la Torre Bueno (divorced circa 1943)
  • circa 1950 - 1958 : Employed by Cambridge University Press
  • 1958: Married George Gamow
  • 1976: Died

From the guide to the George Gamow and Barbara Gamow Papers, 1915-1975, (bulk 1950-1975), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)


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  • Devices (Heraldry)
  • Big bang theory
  • Genetics
  • Literature
  • Science--History--20th century
  • Atoms
  • Cosmology
  • Number theory
  • Nuclear energy
  • Physicists
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  • Publishers and Publishing
  • RNA
  • Stars
  • Cell nuclei
  • Astrophysics
  • Astronomy
  • Nuclear energy in art
  • Physics


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