Frederic de Hoffmann

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Frederic de Hoffmann (July 8, 1924 in Vienna, Austria – October 4, 1989 in La Jolla) was a nuclear physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project.[1] He came to the United States of America in 1941 and graduated from Harvard University in 1945 (he also received a master's in 1947 and a doctorate in 1948).[1] Before graduating, de Hoffmann was sent to Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1944 where he assisted Edward Teller in the development of the Hydrogen bomb.[1] Frederic de Hoffmann was an advocate of peaceful atomic energy.[1]

After leaving Los Alamos, de Hoffmann collaborated with Hans Bethe and Silvan Schweber on a textbook called Mesons and Fields and became chairman of the Committee of Senior Reviewers of the United States Atomic Energy Commission.[2] He received his Ph.D from Julian Schwinger in 1948.[3]

Frederic De Hoffmann moved to the General Dynamics Corporation in 1955.[1] That year he was recruited by John Jay Hopkins to found General Atomics and serve as its first president.[1][4] This organization's purpose was to manufacture nuclear reactors for energy production, and sell them on the open market.[5] In the late '50s he organized Project Orion, a plan for a spaceship to be propelled by nuclear bombs.[6]

He helped found the University of California's campus in San Diego.[4]

De Hoffmann joined the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in 1970 and served as its president for 18 years.[1] He was also the chairman and chief executive officer of the Salk Institute Biotechnology-Industry Associates Inc.[5] When de Hoffmann retired in 1988 he was named the institute's president emeritus.[5] He died in 1989 of AIDS,[1] which he contracted in 1984 from an infected blood transfusion he received during surgery.[7]

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  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Stevens, William K. (1989-10-07). "Frederic de Hoffmann, 65, Dies; Physicist and Salk Institute Chief". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  2. ^ Dyson, George (2002). Project Orion. Great Britain: Penguin Books. p. 31.
  3. ^ Mehra, Jagdish; Milton, Kimball A. (2000). Climbing the Mountain: The Scientific Biography of Julian Schwinger. Oxford University Press. p. 153. ISBN 0-19-850658-9.
  4. ^ a b Seidel, Robert W. (May 1995). "Technology transfer: Half-way houses" (17). Department of Energy. doi:10.2172/105070. Retrieved 2010-03-12. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ a b c "Frederic de Hoffmann". Sarasota herald-Tribune. 1989-10-07. pp. 7B. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  6. ^ Dyson, Freeman J. (1996). Selected papers of Freeman Dyson with commentary. United States: American Mathematical Society. p. 26. ISBN 9780821805619.
  7. ^ "Many fall victim to AIDS". Gadsden Times. 1989-12-31. pp. A18. Retrieved 2010-03-12.