A. Carl Helmholz

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August Carl Helmholz
Born(1915-05-24)May 24, 1915[1]
DiedOctober 29, 2003(2003-10-29) (aged 88)
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley
Harvard University
AwardsFellow, American Physical Society
Scientific career
FieldsNuclear physics
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Berkeley
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Doctoral advisorEdwin McMillan
Ernest O. Lawrence
Doctoral studentsBarry Barish
Lawrence W. Jones
Kent Terwilliger

August Carl Helmholz was an American nuclear physicist known for his contributions to high energy particle physics.[2]

Early years[edit]

Helmholz was born in Evanston, Illinois on May 24, 1915. He attended the Shattuck School military academy in Faribault, Minnesota, following which he went to Harvard University for his undergraduate education. In 1936, Helmholz won a fellowship to study at the Cambridge University for one year. On the advice of his family neighbour and future Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez, Helmolz moved to the University of California, Berkeley for his graduate education.[3]


At Berkeley, he worked with Ernest Lawrence and Edwin McMillan at the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory (which later became the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) on radioactive materials. In 1942, Helmholz worked with the Manhattan Project for using cyclotron magnets to separate uranium which was later used in the development of the first atomic bomb.[4]

Helmholz joined the UC Berkeley physics department as an assistant professor in 1943. He worked on synchrotron accelerators to study the properties of high-energy particle interactions.[4] Helmholz along with Burton Moyer made one of the first measurements of resonances in subatomic physics in the pion-nucleon interaction.[2] Over his career at Berkeley, Helmholz supervised more than sixty doctoral students. He also served as the chair of the UC Berkeley physics department from 1955 to 1962.[3]


  1. ^ "A. Carl Helmholz". Array of Contemporary American Physicists. American Institute of Physics. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b Kerth, Leroy; Shugart, Howard; Trilling, George. "In Memoriam: August Carl Helmholz". University of California. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  3. ^ a b Davidson, Keeay (November 7, 2003). "A. Carl Helmholz - nuclear physicist, ex-chair of UC Berkeley department". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  4. ^ a b Sanders, Roberts (4 November 2003). "Nuclear physicist A. Carl Helmholz, former physics chair, has died". UC Berkeley News. Retrieved 12 May 2012.