Hofstadter, Robert, 1915-1990

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Physicist, educator.

From the description of Reminiscences of Robert L. Hofstadter : oral history, 1964. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122684312

Hofstadter died in 1990.

From the description of Response to 1988 History of Nuclear Physics Survey, 1985-1988. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81639533

Robert (Rubvin) Hofstadter was born in New York City, on February 5, 1915. He attended the City College of New York (CCNY) and received his B.S. degree magna cum laude. He attended graduate school at Princeton University and received both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in physics in 1938. From 1938-1939, he held a Procter Fellowship at Princeton for postdoctoral work. In 1939, Hofstadter received the Harrison Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, where he helped to construct a large Van de Graaff machine for nuclear research. During World War II, he worked at the National Bureau of Standards and the Norden Laboratory Corporation. After the war, he returned to Princeton as Assistant Professor of Physics, where he researched crystal conduction counters, the Compton effect, and scintillation counters. In 1950, Hofstadter left Princeton to become Associate Professor of Physics at Stanford University, where he began research on electron scattering with a linear accelerator. While building equipment for the electron-scattering experiments, he continued working on scintillation counters and developed new detectors for neutrons and X-rays. Hofstadter was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1958 and was named California Scientist of the Year in 1959. In 1961, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics based on his electron scattering studies of the nucleon. From 1967-1974, Hofstadter directed the High Energy Physics Laboratory at Stanford. He went on to collaborate with colleagues at Stanford's School of Medicine in the development of synchrotron radiation and K-edge subtraction for coronary angiography (a diagnostic technique which uses radioactive substances in place of catheters to test heart function). In his later years he worked with NASA physicists and technicians to design the Energetic Gamma-Ray Experimental Telescope (EGRET), which was one of four instruments equipped for the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory Satellite.

From the description of Robert Hofstadter papers, 1931-1992. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 497929062

Biographical/Historical Sketch

Robert (Rubvin) Hofstadter was born in New York City, on February 5, 1915. He was one of four children of Polish immigrants, Louis and Henrietta (Koenigsberg) Hofstadter. Hofstadter was educated in New York City and attended the City College of New York (CCNY) receiving his B.S. degree magna cum laude.

Hofstadter attended graduate school at Princeton University and received both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in physics in 1938 His Ph.D. work was concerned with infrared spectra of simple organic molecules, and in particular, with the structure of the hydrogen bond. From 1938-1939, he held a Procter Fellowship at Princeton for postdoctoral work, during which he began a study of photoconductivity in willemite crystals. In 1939, Hofstadter received the Harrison Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, where he helped to construct a large Van de Graaff machine for nuclear research.

During World War II Hofstadter worked at the National Bureau of Standards and the Norden Laboratory Corporation. After the war, he returned to Princeton as Assistant Professor of Physics, where he researched crystal conduction counters, the Compton effect, and scintillation counters.

In 1950, with the encouragement of colleagues Leonard Schiff and Felix Bloch, Hofstadter left Princeton to become Associate Professor of Physics at Stanford University, where he began research on electron scattering with a linear accelerator. While building equipment for the electron-scattering experiments, he continued working on scintillation counters and developed new detectors for neutrons and X-rays. Other research conducted during Hofstadter’s early years at Stanford concerned cosmic rays and with cascade showers generated by high-speed electrons.

Hofstadter was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1958 and was named California Scientist of the Year in 1959. In 1961, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics based on his electron scattering studies of the nucleon.

From 1967-1974, Hofstadter directed the High Energy Physics Laboratory at Stanford. He went on to collaborate with colleagues at Stanford’s School of Medicine in the development of synchrotron radiation and K-edge subtraction for coronary angiography (a diagnostic technique which uses radioactive substances in place of catheters to test heart function). In his later years he worked with NASA physicists and technicians to design the Energetic Gamma-Ray Experimental Telescope (EGRET), which was one of four instruments equipped for the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory Satellite.

Hofstadter passed away in November of 1990, just prior to EGRET’s launch in 1991. His contributions were commemorated with a plaque that was attached to the observatory.

Hofstadter married Nancy Givan of Baltimore, Maryland in 1942. They were the parents of one son, Douglas, and two daughters, Laura and Mary.

From the guide to the Robert Hofstadter papers, 1931-1992, (Department of Special Collections and University Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Beams, Jesse W. (Jesse Wakefield), 1898-1977. Papers of Jesse W. Beams [manuscript], 1926-1977. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Seitz, Frederick, 1911-2008. The Princeton years and beyond, 1930-1940: Invited paper for the March 1992 meeting of the American Physical Society, 1992. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Wilson, Robert R., 1914-2000. Robert R. Wilson papers, 1936-2000. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Bloch symposium; a Stanford centennial symposium celebrating the work of Felix Bloch : video recordings, 1989. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Bloch symposium; a Stanford centennial symposium celebrating the work of Felix Bloch [videorecording], 1989 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Gittelman, Bernard, 1932-. Oral history interview with Bernard Gittelman, 1996 August 21. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn McIntyre, John Armin, 1920-. Response to 1981 History of Nuclear Physics Survey, 1982. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Rohrlich, F. Correspondence, 1946-1955. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Hofstadter, Robert, 1915-1990. Robert Hofstadter papers, 1931-1992. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Hofstadter, Robert, 1915-1990. Reminiscences of Robert L. Hofstadter : oral history, 1964. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn American Institute of Physics. Center for the History of Physics. Nuclear Physics Project. Responses to 1988 History of Nuclear Physics Survey, 1988. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Bloch, Felix, 1905-1983. Papers, 1931-1987. Stanford University Libraries
creatorOf Hofstadter, Robert, 1915-1990. Response to 1988 History of Nuclear Physics Survey, 1985-1988. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Stanford University. Dept. of Physics. Stanford University, Dept. of Physics, records, 1966-1985 (inclusive), 1971-1985 (bulk). Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Stanford University, Department of Physics, records, 1958-1985, 1971-1985 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Robert R. Wilson papers, 1936-2000. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Stanford Oral History Project interviews, 1971-1995 Cecil H. Green Library. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Robert Hofstadter papers, 1931-1992 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Institute of Physics. Center for the History of Physics. Nuclear Physics Project. corporateBody
associatedWith Beams, Jesse W. (Jesse Wakefield), 1898-1977. person
associatedWith Bloch, Felix, 1905- person
associatedWith Chodorow, Marvin person
associatedWith Chodorow, Marvin. person
associatedWith Condon, Edward Uhler, 1902-1974. person
associatedWith European Organization for Nuclear Research. corporateBody
associatedWith Ginzton, Edward L. (Edward Leonard), 1915-1998. person
associatedWith Gittelman, Bernard, 1932- person
associatedWith Goddard Space Flight Center. corporateBody
associatedWith Hansen, W. W. (William Webster), 1909-1949. person
associatedWith Harshaw Chemical Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Hofstadter, Douglas R., 1945- person
associatedWith Kaplan, Henry S., 1918-1984. person
associatedWith KMS Fusion, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. corporateBody
associatedWith McIntyre, John Armin, 1920- person
associatedWith National Bureau of Standards (U.S.). corporateBody
associatedWith Norden Laboratory Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Panofsky, Wolfgang K. H. (Wolfgang Kurt Hermann), 1919-2007. person
associatedWith Princeton University corporateBody
associatedWith Ridenour, Louis N. (Louis Nicot), 1911-1959. person
associatedWith Rohrlich, F. person
associatedWith Schawlow, Arthur L., 1921-1999. person
associatedWith Seitz, Frederick, 1911-2008. person
associatedWith SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. corporateBody
associatedWith Stanford Historical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Stanford Linear Accelerator Center corporateBody
associatedWith Stanford University corporateBody
associatedWith Stanford University. Dept. of Physics corporateBody
associatedWith Stanford University. Dept. of Physics. corporateBody
associatedWith Stanford University. Dept. of Physics. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. National Bureau of Standards. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Pennsylvania. corporateBody
associatedWith Wilson, Robert R., 1914-2000. person
associatedWith W.W. Hansen Laboratories of Physics. High Energy Physics Laboratory. corporateBody
associatedWith Zuckerman, Harriet A., person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Research
Proximity fuzes--Research
Physicists--Interviews
Pulsars--Detection
Electron--Research
Nucleon-nucleon scattering
Scattering (Physics)
Form factor (Nuclear physics)
Electrons--Scattering
Aircraft--Research
Educator--Interviews
Physics--Study and teaching
Muons
Laser fusion
Angiography
Nuclear physics--Research
Linear accelerators
World War, 1939-1945--Science
Physics--Research
Nobel prizes
Physics
Nobel Prize winners
Particles (Nuclear physics)
Gamma rays
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1915-02-05

Death 1990-11-17

Americans

English

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