Noemie Benczer Koller

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Noemie Benczer Koller (born 1933) is a nuclear physicist. She was the first tenured female professor of Rutgers College.


Born in Vienna, Austria, Noemie Benczer Koller moved frequently in her early childhood due to the turbulence of war. After escaping occupied France with her family, she attended a French school in Mexico. Upon completing high school, she travelled to New York to receive a college education. At the time, Columbia University did not accept female applicants and Koller was directed to apply to Columbia's sister school, Barnard College. Barnard gave her two years of credit for the French high school and Koller was able to attain a B.A. in two years, studying American history, math, and physics. She received her M.S. in 1955 and earned her Ph.D. in 1958 in experimental physics from Columbia University, where she stayed on as a postdoctoral research associate until 1960.

In the fall of 1960, Koller came to Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.[citation needed] She had married a fellow student, also a physics major, and they both looked to find positions at universities in the vicinity of one another. Her husband took a position at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken and Koller came to Rutgers, the first woman hired in the Physics department and, also, in 1965, the first tenured female professor of Rutgers College. Mason Gross was president of the university at this time.

At Rutgers she has been a major member of the nuclear physics research group working on the tandem Van de Graaff accelerator, as well as a condensed-matter physicist, performing experiments using the Mössbauer effect, by which she investigated the electronic structure of magnetic materials.[1][2]

According to the 'Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics' (CWP) Project of the UCLA entry on Koller, Koller was a pioneer in several areas of nuclear and condensed matter physics, including the first identification of the double gamma decay of the observationally stable but theoretically unstable 40Ca isotope to the ground state: a 0+ → 0+ transition;[3] the observation of the interplay of single particle and collective motions in nuclei;[4] and the description of a broad range of nuclear electromagnetic transitions in the rare earth region using a simple relation based on constant gyromagnetic ratios for nucleon pairs.[5]

Koller was active in administrative duties also. She served as a member of the Physics Advisory Panel, US National Science Foundation (1973–76), and of the Panel on Nuclear Physics, National Academy of Sciences Committee on Physics and Astronomy (1983–84).[6] She was the Director of the Nuclear Physics Laboratory from 1986 to 1989. At Rutgers, Koller served in the administration of the University as the Associate Dean for Sciences of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences from 1992 to 1996, and was active in the American Physical Society (APS), serving on many national committees, as well as Chair of the 2,500-member APS Nuclear Physics Division. Koller is a strong supporter of women in science and has contributed a significant amount of research to the physics community internationally.[7][8]


  1. ^ "Measurement of 2s and 3s Electron Spin Densities in Iron Metal and Fe203," Phys. Rev. B, 9:326 (1974), with C. Song and J. Trooster.
  2. ^ "Surface Magnetic Hyperfine Interactions in Fe203 Determined by Energy Resolved Conversion Electron Mossbauer Spectroscopy," Phys. Rev. Lett., 48:1292 (1982), with T. Yang, A. Krishnan and G. Bayreuther.
  3. ^ "Double Gamma Decay in 40Ca," Phys. Rev. C, 8:216 (1973), with E. Beardsworth, R. Hensler, J. Tape, and J.R. MacDonald
  4. ^ "Measurement of the Mean Life of the 4.49 MeV (5) state of 40Ca. Effects of Deformed Components on the Lifetime of the Odd Parity States." Phys. Rev. Lett., 23:594 (1969), with J.R. MacDonald, J. Tape, L. Guthman, and P. Goode.
  5. ^ "Effective g Factors and Proton-Boson Numbers in the Vicinity of Proton Sub-shell Closures," Phys. Rev. Lett. B, 158:7 (1985), with A. Wolf and D.D. Warner.
  6. ^ "CWP at // Noemie Benczer Koller". 
  7. ^ "Rutgers: Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics- Girl Geeks/My Story". 
  8. ^ "Noemie Koller Scholarship". 

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