Authorised form of nameBethe; Hans Albrecht (1906 - 2005)
Dates1906 - 2005
Place of birthStrasbourg, Germany
Date of birth02/07/1906
Place of deathIthaca, New York
Date of death06/03/2005
OccupationTheoretical Physicist, played a vital role in the Manhattan Project - the development of the atom bomb at Los Alamos; winner of Nobel Prize for Physics for his 'carbon cycle' formula, which explains how the sun generates its energy
Goethe Gymnasium, Frankfurt-am-Main (1915-1924); read Physics at Frankfurt University; doctorate in theoretical physics at Munich University (1926-1928), used quantum mechanics in his work on electron diffraction and refraction in crystals
Lecturer, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich universities (1928-1929); Rockefeller International Fellowship - worked with Sir Ernest Rutherford (Cambridge) and Enrico Fermi (Rome); Assistant Professor,Tubingen University (1932-1933) but lost his job as his mother was Jewish; supported by Academic Assistance Council (Society for the Protection of Science and Learning), worked at Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge with R H Fowler; visiting lectureship, University of Manchester (1933-1934); fellowship at Bristol University (1934-1935); Assistant Professor of Theoretical Physics, Cornell University (1935-1937), Professor (1937-1975), Professor Emeritus; awarded Morrison Prize by New York Academy of Sciences (1938 and 1940); worked on microwave radar, Radiation Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1942); Head of Theoretical Physics Division, Los Alamos Atomic Scientific Laboratory (Manhattan Project) (1943-1946); consultant, Atomic Energy Commission (1945-1964); part of nine man Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists led by Albert Einstein who saught to educate the public about atomic energy (1946); invited to return to Los Alamos (1949) to develop hydrogen bomb but declined to be involved; member of US Presidential science advisory committee (1956-1959); John Wendell Anderson Professor of Physics, Emeritus, Cornell University.
Medals and prizes:
Awarded US Presidential Medal of Merit (1946), Max Planck Medal (1955), Enrico Fermi Award (1961), US National Academy of Sciences' Vannevar Bush Award (1985), Einstein Peace Prize (1993); Nobel Prize (Physics) 1967
Membership categoryForeign Member
Date of election09/05/1957
Age at election50
Royal Society activityLectures:
Bakerian 1993
RelationshipsSon of Albrecht Bethe, professor of physiology; married (1939) Rose Ewald daughter of P P Ewald FRS.
in Telegraph, Times, Guardian (08 March 2005), Independent (09 March 2005)
Biographical Memoir by Sabine Lee and Gerry E Brown in Volume 53 (2007) pp 1-20

David Thouless, 'Two Pioneers of Modern Theoretical Physics', review of H A Bethe, Selected Works of Hans A Bethe, With Commentary and R H Dalitz and Sir Rudolf Peierls, Selected Scientific Papers of Sir Rudolf Peierls, With Commentary in NR 1999 vol 53 pp 282-288
Royal Society codeNA4303
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1957/26Bethe, Hans Albrecht: certificate of election to the Royal Society
RR/52/51Referee's report by Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, on a paper 'On the annihilation radiation of positrons' by Hans Albrecht BetheJanuary 1935
RR/52/50Referee's report by Ralph Howard Fowler, on a paper 'The scattering of neutrons by protons' by Hans Albrecht Bethe and R PeierlsNovember 1934
RR/52/49Referee's report by Charles Galton Darwin, on a paper 'Quantum theory of the diplon' by Hans Albrecht Bethe and R PeierlsAugust 1934
RR/52/48Referee's report by Ralph Howard Fowler, on a paper 'On the stopping of fast particles and on the creation of positive electrons' by Hans Albrecht Bethe and W HeitlerMarch 1934
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