Weber, J. (Joseph), 1919-2000

Alternative names
Birth 1919-05-17
Death 2000-09-30

Biographical notes:

Joseph Weber (1919-2000).

From the description of Oral history interview with Joseph Weber, 1983 April 8. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81003959

Joseph Weber was born in Paterson, N. J. in 1919. After working on radar technology in the Navy during World War II, he joined the University of Maryland as a professor of electrical engineering in 1948. He was the first scientist to work out the theoretical concept of a maser (a proto-laser), though he did not build one. He later became a professor of physics as well. Starting in 1955, he attempted to detect gravitational waves. The existence of gravitational waves is predicted by the general theory of relativity. Weber designed an aluminum alloy bar, surrounded by piezoelectric quartz crystals to detect the nearly imperceptible waves' vibrations. After several modifications, he designed two such detectors, one on the Maryland campus and another at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago. In 1968, he and his team claimed to detect wave vibrations. Weber's results have been examined and disputed by many physicists. In 1972, after the death of Weber's first wife, Weber married University of California, Irvine astronomer Virginia Trimble. Thereafter, Weber spent half of the academic year at Maryland and half at Irvine. Weber continued to check up on his detector at Maryland until his death in 2000.

From the description of Papers of Joseph Weber, 1930-2000. (University of Maryland Libraries). WorldCat record id: 82957587

Joseph Weber, 1919-2000.

From the description of Response to Laser History Project Survey, ca. 1986. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 77594634


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  • Physicists--Biography
  • Science
  • Masers--History
  • Physicists--History
  • Masers
  • Lasers--history
  • Gravitational waves--History


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  • Maryland--College Park (as recorded)