Henry Primakoff

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Henry Primakoff (* February 12, 1914 in Odessa, Russian Empire; † July 25, 1983 in Philadelphia, United States) was a theoretical physicist who is famous for his discovery of the Primakoff effect.[1]

Primakoff contributed to the understanding of weak interactions, double beta decay, spin waves in ferromagnetism, and the interaction between neutrinos and the atomic nucleus. He also developed the Holstein-Primakoff transformation which is designed to treat spin waves as bosonic excitations.

In 1940 he worked at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, subsequently at the Queens College. Primakoff was the first Donner Professor of Physics in the University of Pennsylvania. He was married to Mildred Cohn from 1938 until his death in 1983.[2] In 2011 the American Physical Society established the Henry Primakoff Award for Early-Career Particle Physics.[3]


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