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Skip to Content. There Gamow proposed a hypothesis that atomic nuclei can be treated as little droplets of so-called "nuclear fluid. At this period Gamow also collaborated with F. Houtermans and R. Atkinson in attempts to apply his formula for calculating the rate of induced nuclear transformations to the so-called thermonuclear reaction in the interior of the Sun and other stars. This formula, originally applied only to astronomical topics, is now successfully used for designing H-bombs, as well as for studying the possibility of controlled thermonuclear reactions.

During the early years in Washington he collaboratedwith Edward Teller on the theory of beta-decay, and formulated the so-called "Gamow-Teller Selection Rule for Beta Emission. While Gamow was in Washington he developed the theory of the internal structure of red giant stars.

With Mario Schoenberg he developed the theory of the so-called Urca process; and, with Ralph Alpher, the theory of the origin of chemical elements by the process of successive neutron capture.

George Gamow's fame as a physicist began with his theory that explained the radioactive alpha particle decay of atomic nuclei. In his cosmological studies, he is known for the "big bang" theory of the origin of the universe, and in his studies in biology led him to suggest that the genetic code was a triplet code.

This concept is fundamental to modern biology. He was perhaps most widely known for his popular writings on science that introduced millions of readers to the concepts of relativity and atomic and nuclear physics. These writings have been translated into several dozen languages. In recognition of the global impact of his popular scientific writings, the United National awarded him with the Kalinga Prize in Tompkins, the little clerk of a big city bank, slept late and had a leisurely breakfast.

Trying to plan his day, he first thought about going to some afternoon movie and, opening the morning paper, turned to the entertainment page. But none of the films looked attractive to him. He detested all this Hollywood stuff, with infinite romances between popular stars. But there was none.

Unexpectedly, his eye fell on a little notice in the corner of the page. The local university was announcing a series of lectures on the problems of modern physics, and this afternoon's lecture was to be about Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Well, that might be something! George Gamow was perhaps most widely known for his popular writings on science that introduced millions of readers to concepts of relativity and atomic and nuclear physics.

In recognition of the global impact of his popular scientific writings, he was awarded the Kalinga Prize by the United Nations in Search Enter the terms you wish to search for.

Other ways to search: Events Calendar Campus Map. Gamow then decided to become a scientist and began his study of mathematics, physics, and astronomy. Through research he was able to explain the then-mysterious phenomenon of natural radioactivity as well as the experiments of Lord Rutherford on the induced transformation of light elements. On the basis of this research, Gamow received his Ph. In these papers he proposed the so-called "genetic code," an idea later completely confirmed by experimental studies in laboratories.

Barbara Gamow after the death of her husband. The lecture series began in and is now maintained by a bequest to the Regents of the University of Colorado from the Will of Mrs. Barbara Gamow, who died in December The Distinguished Career of George Gamow George Gamow's fame as a physicist began with his theory that explained the radioactive alpha particle decay of atomic nuclei. Career Highlights Explained nuclear alpha decay by quantum mechanical tunneling; Pioneered the liquid-drop model in nuclear physics; Described, with Edward Teller, spin-induced nuclear beta decay; Introduced the "Gamow" factor in stellar reaction rates and element formation; Modeled red giants, supernovae, and neutron stars; Developed the "Big Bang Theory" of the universe; First suggested how the genetic code might be transcribed; Wrote the popular science fiction series, the "Adventures of Mr.

Tompkins" most recently reprinted in George Gamow's Writing "It was a bank holiday, and Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland. The Mr. Tompkins Series - Graphic Novels. In his school days Gamow became very much interested in astronomy, examining the starry sky through a little telescope, his father's present on the thirteenth birthday of his son.

After graduation from the University of Leningrad in , he attended summer school in Gottingen and decided to see if the newly-formulated quantum theory, so successful in explaining the structure of the atom, could also be applied to the atomic nucleus. Married Lyubov Vokhminzeva; divorced Gamow spent a year working with Lord Rutherford at Cambridge, a second year in Copenhagen, and later became a professor at the University of Leningrad.

While attending the International Solvay Congress in Brussels, he was invited, in the summer of , to lecture at the University of Michigan. In Gamow developed an interest in biological phenomena and published papers on the information storage and transfer in a living cell. Married Barbara Perkins "Perky". Developed the "Big Bang Theory" of the universe;. Wrote the popular science fiction series, the "Adventures of Mr.


George Gamow

In addition, his work on deoxyribonucleic acid DNA made a basic contribution to modern genetic theory. Gamow attended Leningrad now St. Petersburg University, where he studied briefly with A. Friedmann , a mathematician and cosmologist who suggested that the universe should be expanding. His achievement earned him a fellowship at the Copenhagen Institute of Theoretical Physics —29 , where he continued his investigations in theoretical nuclear physics.


The Distinguished Life and Career of George Gamow

Over biographies of physicists and histories of institutions with information pertaining to their lives, careers, and research. Other institutional affiliations included George Washington University and the University of Leningrad. His research interests included beta decay and the big bang theory. Collaborated on the Gamow-Teller theory of weak interactions. Both employed at George Washington University. Francis Crick personal papers, George and Barbara Gamow papers, bulk


Physics History Network

He discovered a theoretical explanation of alpha decay by quantum tunneling , invented the liquid drop model and the first mathematical model of the atomic nucleus , and worked on radioactive decay , star formation , stellar nucleosynthesis and Big Bang nucleosynthesis which he collectively called nucleocosmogenesis , and molecular genetics. In his middle and late career, Gamow directed much of his attention to teaching and wrote popular books on science, including One Two Three Infinity and the Mr Tompkins series of books — Some of his books are still in print more than a half-century after their original publication. Gamow was born in Odessa , Russian Empire. His father taught Russian language and literature in high school, and his mother taught geography and history at a school for girls. In addition to Russian, Gamow learned to speak some French from his mother and German from a tutor.

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Oral History Interviews

Dover ISBN When George Gamow died in he was already well known as the author of the Mr Tompkins popular physics books still available from Cambridge University Press and said to have inspired John Gribbin among others. He discovered the quantum explanation of radioactivity while still working in Russia , simultaneously and independently with Edward Condon who by a great coincidence was later to be his neighbour in Boulder when they both joined the University of Colorado physics department. As he said before he died, "Finally my liver is presenting the bill.

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