|Born||February 5, 1915|
New York City
|Died||November 17, 1990 (aged 75)|
|Alma mater||City College of New York (BS)|
Princeton University (MS, PhD)
|Known for||Electron scattering|
Sodium iodide scintillator
|Spouse(s)||Nancy (Givan) Hofstadter (1920–2007) (3 children including Douglas Hofstadter)|
|Awards||Nobel Prize in Physics (1961)|
National Medal of Science (1986)
Dirac Medal (1987)
University of Pennsylvania
|Doctoral students||Carol Jo Crannell|
Robert Hofstadter (February 5, 1915 – November 17, 1990) was an American physicist. He was the joint winner of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics (together with Rudolf Mössbauer) "for his pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his consequent discoveries concerning the structure of nucleons".
Hofstadter was born into a Jewish family in New York City on February 5, 1915, to Polish immigrants, Louis Hofstadter, a salesman, and née Henrietta Koenigsberg. He attended elementary and high schools in New York City and entered City College of New York, graduating with a B.S. degree magna cum laude in 1935 at the age of 20, and was awarded the Kenyon Prize in Mathematics and Physics. He also received a Charles A. Coffin Foundation Fellowship from the General Electric Company, which enabled him to attend graduate school at Princeton University, where he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the age of 23. His doctoral dissertation was titled "Infra-red absorption by light and heavy formic and acetic acids." He did his post-doctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania and was an assistant professor at Princeton before joining Stanford University. Hofstadter taught at Stanford from 1950 to 1985.
In 1942 he married Nancy Givan (1920–2007), a native of Baltimore. They had three children: Laura, Molly (who was disabled and not able to communicate), and Pulitzer Prize-winner Douglas Hofstadter.
Thallium-activated sodium iodide gamma ray detector
Coining of the fermi (unit) and 1961 Nobel Lecture
Robert Hofstadter coined the term fermi, symbol fm, in honor of the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi (1901–1954), one of the founders of nuclear physics, in Hofstadter's 1956 paper published in the Reviews of Modern Physics journal, "Electron Scattering and Nuclear Structure". The term is widely used by nuclear and particle physicists. When Hofstadter was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics, it subsequently appears in the text of his 1961 Nobel Lecture, "The electron-scattering method and its application to the structure of nuclei and nucleons" (December 11, 1961).
Compton Gamma Ray Observatory and EGRET Telescope
In his last few years, Hofstadter became interested in astrophysics and applied his knowledge of scintillators to the design of the EGRET gamma-ray telescope of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory named for fellow Nobel Laureate in Physics (1927), Arthur Holly Compton. Stanford University's Department of Physics credits Hofstadter with being "one of the principal scientists who developed the Compton Observatory."
Awards and honors
- 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics, joint winner with Rudolf Mössbauer, "for his [Hofstadter's] pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his consequent discoveries concerning the structure of nucleons."
- Stanford University has an annual lecture series named after Hofstadter, the Robert Hofstadter Memorial Lectures, which consists of two lectures each year, one oriented toward the general public and the other oriented toward scientists.
- 1984 Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.
- Fermi (unit)
- The Big Bang Theory popular TV sitcom supposedly named one of its main characters, Leonard Hofstadter, after Hofstadter.
- Flint, Peter B., "Obituary: Dr. Robert Hofstadter Dies at 75; Won Nobel Prize in Physics in '61", The New York Times, November 19, 1990.
- R. W. McAllister & Robert Hofstadter, "Elastic Scattering of 188 MeV Electrons from Proton and the Alpha Particle," Physical Review, V102, p. 851 (1956).
- Robert Hofstadter on Nobelprize.org including his Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1961 The Electron-Scattering Method and Its Application to the Structure of Nuclei and Nucleons
- "Dr. Robert Hofstadter, U.S. Jewish Scientist, Wins 1961 Nobel Prize". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. November 3, 1961. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- "Robert Hofstadter biography". NNDB. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- "Guide to the Robert Hofstadter Papers". Retrieved November 5, 2014.
- Robert Hofstadter biography. 2001. doi:10.17226/10169. ISBN 978-0-309-07572-5. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
- Hofstadter, Robert (1938). Infra-red absorption by light and heavy formic and acetic acids. Princeton.
- Obituary to Nancy Givan from Stanford University, 2007.
- Douglas Hofstadter's autobiography
- National Academy of Sciences biography
- US patent 2585551, Robert Hofstadter, "Means for detecting ionizing radiations"
- "Robert Hofstadter" Biographical Memoirs National Academy of Sciences
- "American National Standard for Metric Practice". IEEE Standards Library. IEEE/ASTM SI 10-2010 (Revision of IEEE/ASTM SI 10-2002). IEEE: 78. April 11, 2011. doi:10.1109/IEEESTD.2011.5750142. ISBN 978-0-7381-6533-2. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- Hofstadter, Robert, Department of Physics, Stanford University, Stanford, California, "Electron Scattering and Nuclear Structure", Rev. Mod. Phys. 28, 214–254 (1956) © 1956 The American Physical Society
- "The Hofstadter Memorial Lectures". Stanford University. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
- Robert Hofstadter "The Electron Scattering Method & its Application to the Structure of Nuclei and Nucleons", Nobel Lectures, Physics 1942–1962, pp. 560–581, Elsevier Pub. Co., Amsterdam-London-New York (Dec 1961).
- "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
- Hofstadter, Robert, "The electron-scattering method and its application to the structure of nuclei and nucleons", Nobel Lecture (December 11, 1961)
- Hofstadter, Robert, "Robert Hofstadter's speech at the Nobel Banquet", The Nobel Foundation, Stockholm, December 10, 1961.
- Hofstadter, R. "Detection of Neutrons with Scintillation Counters", Brookhaven National Laboratory, United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission), (November 1948).
- Hahn, B., Ravenhall, D. G. and R. Hofstadter. "High-energy Electron Scattering and the Charge Distributions of Selected Nuclei," Stanford University, United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission), Office of Naval Research and United States Air Force, (October 1955).
- Chambers, E.E. and R. Hofstadter. "The Structure of the Proton", Stanford University, United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Energy Research and Development Administration), Office of Naval Research and United States Air Force (April 1956).
- Hofstadter, R. "Structure in the Proton and the Neutron", Stanford University, United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission), (June 1958).
- Collard, H., Hofstadter, R., Hughes, E. B., Johansson, A., Yearian, M. R., Day, R. B. and R. T. Wagner. "Elastic Electron Scattering from Tritium and Helium-3", Stanford University, United States Department of Energy (through predecessor agency the Atomic Energy Commission), Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Office of Naval Research, Air Force Research Laboratory, (October 1964).
- Hofstadter, R. "K-edge Subtraction Angiography with Synchrotron X-Rays: Final Technical Report, (February 1, 1984 to January 31, 1987)", Stanford University, United States Department of Energy, (September 1987).