Helmuth Kulenkampff

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Helmuth Kulenkampff
Born 5 December 1895
Died 12 June 1971 (1971-06-13) (aged 75)
Nationality German
Fields Physicist
Institutions University of Würzburg
Alma mater University of Munich
Doctoral advisor Ernst Wagner
Doctoral students Elmar Zeitler
Known for Studies of X-ray behaviour
Influenced Werner Heisenberg
His father was the virtuoso violinist Georg Kulenkampff (1898-1948).

Helmuth Kulenkampff (5 December 1895 – 12 June 1971) was a physicist notable for his studies of X-rays. He obtained his PhD in 1922 under Ernst Wagner at the University of Munich with a thesis entitled: Über das Kontinuierliche Röntgenspektrum (On the continuous X-ray spectrum).

In 1937, Alfred Ehmert made the surprising observation that cosmic ray absorption in water is less than in air for same effective thickness. In 1938, Kulenkampff was the first to correctly explain this effect in terms of meson decay, and this then enabled Hans Heinrich Euler and Werner Heisenberg to calculate an improved figure for meson decay time.


  • Laurie M. Brown and Helmut Rechenberg, The Origin of the Concept of Nuclear Forces, IOP, 1996, p. 181.

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