Hartmut Kallmann

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Harmut Kallmann (5 February 1896 – 11 June 1978) was a German physicist.[1] He is known for his work on the scintillation counter for the detection of gamma rays.


Kallmann was born in Berlin. He studied at the University of Göttingen and wrote his dissertation under Max Planck, completing it in 1920. After which he worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Elektrochemistry. As a post-doctoral student he worked with Fritz Haber and Fritz London. In 1933 he was dismissed for Haber's institute due to his non-Aryan descent. The companies IG Farben and AEG provided him a research lab to continue his work but with some restrictions.[2]

Kallmann built the world's first organic scintillator in Berlin.

In 1948, Kallmann's knowledge about photomultiplier scintillation counters brought him to the United States as a research fellow for the U.S. Army Signal Corps Laboratory in Belmar, NJ.

The modern day corporation, Thermo Electron, credits Kallmann and Broser at the Wayback Machine (archived October 15, 2003) with pioneering modern day scintillation counting by combining a scintillating material with a photomultiplier, as a means of improving light detection and reducing the eye fatigue apparently common to earlier, cruder methods of detection.

See the journal article in the Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 'Scintillation of Organic Compounds Discovered by H. Kallmann, L. Herforth and I. Broser' [3]

Kallman worked for the US Signal Corps Engineering Laboratories, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey[4]

Patent for Scintillator Solution Enhancers as found by Google [5]

The book, 'Pions to Quarks: Particle Physics in the 1950s' is referenced in this Google excerpt describing Kallmann's contribution to particle physics.[6]

The Basic Process Occurring in Liquid Scintillation, as presented by Kallmann and Furst in 1957.

In 1948 he emigrated to the US and established a research lab at the New York University. He died in Munich at the age of 82.