Rudolf Ludwig Mößbauer

Prof. Dr. Rudolf Ludwig Mößbauer

Nationality
Germany 
Institution
Technische Universität München 
Award
1961 
Discipline
Physics 
Co-recipients
Prof. Dr. Robert Hofstadter 

Biography on the Official Web Site of the Nobel Prize

CURRICULUM VITAE

Born in Munich on January 31, 1929, he started studying physics after the end of the Second World War while working in the industrial laboratory of the Rodenstock optical company. He later joined the Technical Physics Laboratory of Technische Hochschule München headed by Professor Maier-Leibnitz. He soon attracted attention to himself on account of his original and innovative approach to scientific work, and, after having obtained his diploma, was encouraged to study the reaction of rays with matter. Subsequently he spent three years at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research at Heidelberg, the Physics Department of which was headed by W. Bothe (Nobel Laureate 1954).

In his doctoral thesis of 1958 he for the first time described the "recoilless nuclear resonance absorption" of radiation of the Iridium-191 isotope. This constituted a milestone on the road to the discovery of the effect of nuclear resonance flurorescence, which has become known as Mößbauer effect. In this way modern experimental and in particular nuclear physics was given a new time scale of hitherto inconceivable precision, which enabled scientists to observe movements of radiation sources at a "velocity" of micrometers per second. It was for this discovery that he was awarded one half of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics; his co-recipient was the American scientist, R. Hofstadter.

Mößbauer worked for five years at the California Institute of Technology at Pasadena before he accepted a call to the Technische Universität München (on condition that the University adopt the American Department system for the study of Physics.) From 1972 to 1977 he also headed the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) at Grenoble with its high-flux nuclear reactor. In April 1997 he bacame professor emeritus at the Technische Universität München.

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Rudolf Ludwig Mößbauer

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