Ben Roy Mottelson
|Ben Roy Mottelson|
1963 in Copenhagen
July 9, 1926 |
|Alma mater||Purdue University
|Doctoral advisor||Julian Schwinger|
|Known for||Geometry of atomic nuclei|
|Notable awards||Wetherill Medal (1974)
Nobel Prize in Physics (1975)
|Spouse||Nancy Jane Reno (1948-1975; 3 children)
Britta Marger Siegumfeldt (m. 1983)
Life and career
Mottelson was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Georgia (Blum) and Goodman Mottelson, an engineer. He graduated from Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, Illinois. He received a Bachelor's degree from Purdue University in 1947, and a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Harvard University in 1950.
He moved to Institute for Theoretical Physics (later the Niels Bohr Institute) in Copenhagen on the Sheldon Traveling Fellowship from Harvard, and remained in Denmark, becoming a professor at the newly formed Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics (Nordita) in 1957. In 1971 he became a naturalized Danish citizen.
In 1950–51, James Rainwater and Aage Bohr had developed models of the atomic nucleus which began to take into account the behaviour of the individual nucleons. These models, which moved beyond the simpler liquid drop treatment of the nucleus as having effectively no internal structure, were the first models which could explain a number of nuclear properties, including the non-spherical distribution of charge in certain nuclei. Mottelson worked with Aage Bohr to compare the theoretical models with experimental data. In three papers which were published in 1952–53, Bohr and Mottelson demonstrated close agreement between theory and experiment, for example showing that the energy levels of certain nuclei could be described by a rotation spectrum. This work stimulated new theoretical and experimental studies.
Rainwater, Bohr and Mottelson were jointly awarded the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the discovery of the connection between collective motion and particle motion in atomic nuclei and the development of the theory of the structure of the atomic nucleus based on this connection".
Bohr and Mottelson continued to work together, publishing a two-volume monograph, Nuclear Structure. The first volume, Single-Particle Motion, appeared in 1969, and the second volume, Nuclear Deformations, in 1975.
- Nobel prize citation. Nobelprize.org. Retrieved on 2012-02-18.
- Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – Board of Sponsors. Thebulletin.org. Retrieved on 2012-02-18.
- List of Fellows of Bangladesh Academy of Sciences
- "Gruppe 2: Fysikkfag (herunder astronomi, fysikk og geofysikk)" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Retrieved 7 October 2010.