April 20, 1921|
Kiev, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
|Died||1 April 2009
Mexico City, Mexico
|Institutions||National Autonomous University of Mexico|
|Alma mater||National Autonomous University of Mexico, Princeton University.|
|Doctoral advisor||Eugene Paul Wigner|
|Known for||Transformation parenthesis for harmonic oscillator functions|
|Notable awards||Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Investigation (1988), UNESCO Science Prize (1997).|
Marcos Moshinsky (1921–2009) was a Mexican physicist of Ukrainian and Jewish origin whose work in the field of elementary particles won him the Prince of Asturias Prize for Scientific and Technical Investigation in 1988 and the UNESCO Science Prize in 1997.
He was born in 1921 into a Jewish family in Kiev, Ukraine (which was then part of the Soviet Union). At the age of three, he emigrated as a refugee to Mexico, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1942. He received a bachelor's degree in physics from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and a doctorate in the same discipline at Princeton University under Nobel Laureate Eugene Paul Wigner.
In the 1950s he researched nuclear reactions and the structure of the atomic nucleus, introducing the concept of the transformation parenthesis for functions of harmonic oscillation, which, together with the tables elaborated in collaboration with Thomas A. Brody, simplified calculations in the nucleus layer models and became an indispensable reference for the study of nuclear structures. In 1952, his work on the transient dynamics of matter waves led to the discovery of diffraction in time.
After completing postdoctoral studies at the Henri Poincaré Institute in Paris, France, he returned to Mexico City to serve as a professor at the UNAM. In 1967 he was chosen president of the Mexican Society of Physics and in 1972 he was admitted to the National College. He was the editor of several international scientific reviews, including the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and authored four books and more than 200 technical papers. He received the Mexican National Prize for Science (1968), the Luis Elizondo Prize (1971), the Prince of Asturias Prize for Scientific and Technical Investigation (1988) and the UNESCO Science Prize (1997).
While practising physics, he wrote a weekly column in the newspaper Excélsior on Mexican politics.
This article began as a translation of the corresponding article in the Spanish-language Wikipedia.
- M. Moshinsky and Y. F. Smirnov, The harmonic oscillator in modern physics, Informa HealthCare, Amsterdam 1996.
- M. Moshinsky, Diffraction in time, Phys. Rev. 88, 625 (1952).