Hans Bethe, Energy Production in Stars, and Nuclear Physics

Awards and Tributes · Resources with Additional Information

Hans Bethe
Courtesy of Cornell University

"Hans Bethe was one of the great physicists not only of the twentieth century, but of all time. During his long life, he uncovered the secrets powering the stars, published the standard work on nuclear physics, built atomic weapons, and called for a halt to their proliferation. Bethe's dual legacy is one of genius and conscience."1

"Bethe headed the Theoretical (T) Division at Los Alamos [National Laboratory] from 1943 to 1946. Prior to joining the Manhattan Project, Bethe taught physics at Cornell University. ... It was during his early years at Cornell, before joining the Manhattan Project, that Bethe published his famous reviews of nuclear physics and conducted the groundbreaking work on the theory of energy production in stars that garnered him the Nobel Prize for physics in 1967.

Bethe also conducted theoretical research on atomic and molecular physics, studying the behavior of groups of atoms and molecules, their interactions (collisions), and on solid-state physics. In 1947 ... he anticipated the discovery of the pi meson. That same year, Bethe was the first to explain the Lamb shift in the hydrogen spectrum, laying the foundation for the modern development of quantum electrodynamics."2

1 Edited excerpts from LANL History: Hans A. Bethe, Los Alamos National Laboratory Staff Biographies
2 Edited excerpts from Hans Bethe Obituary, News Bulletin, March 8, 2005


Resources with Additional Information

Additional information about Hans Bethe and his research is available in full-text and on the Web.


Energy Production in Stars; Physical Review, Vol. 55, Issue 1: 103, January 1, 1939

Theory of High Frequency Rectification by Silicon Crystals, DOE Technical Report, October 29, 1942

Theoretical Estimate of Maximum Possible Nuclear Explosion, DOE Technical Report, January 31, 1950

Nuclear Many-Body Problem; Physical Review, Vol. 103, Issue 5: 1353-1390, September 1, 1956

Usefulness of Polarized Targets and the Polarization Transfer Tensor in Reconstruction of the Nucleon-Nucleon Scattering Matrix; Physical Review, Vol. 121, Issue 5: 1534-1541, March 1, 1961

Three-body Problem in Nuclear Matter, DOE Technical Report, 1967

Note on Inverse Bremsstrahlung in a Strong Electromagnetic Field, DOE Technical Report, September 1972

Pauli Principle and Pion Scattering, DOE Technical Report, October 1972

Fusion Hybrid Reactor, DOE Technical Report, August 1981

Nuclear Physics; Review of Modern Physics, Vol. 71, Issue 2: S6-S15, March 1999


Awards and Tributes:


Additional Web Pages:

Quantum Physics Made Relatively Simple, Personal and Historical Perspectives of Hans Bethe

Interview with Hans Bethe Caltech Archives Oral Histories Online


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