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Rudolf Ludwig Mössbauer

Born January 31, 1929 (1929-01-31) (age 80)
Munich, Germany
Fields Nuclear and atomic physics
Institutions Technical University of Munich
Caltech
Alma mater Technical University of Munich
Doctoral advisor Heinz Maier-Leibnitz
Known for Mössbauer effect
Mössbauer spectroscopy
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physics (1961)

Rudolf Ludwig Mössbauer (German: Rudolf Ludwig Mößbauer); born January 31, 1929) is a German physicist who studied gamma rays from nuclear transitions.

Mössbauer was born in Munich, where he also studied physics at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and did his PhD with Heinz Maier-Leibnitz. Along with Robert Hofstadter of the United States he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1961 for his 1957 discovery of the Mössbauer effect—research which he carried out as a PhD student at the Institute for Physics of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg.

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The teacher

He became a professor at Caltech in 1961. Only three years later his alma mater, the physics department of the TUM, convinced him to come back as full professor where he is still professor emeritus. Rudolf Mössbauer was an excellent teacher. In 1984 he taught undergraduate lectures to the 350 people taking the physics course. Highly specialized lectures were given by him on numerous courses including Neutrino Physics, Neutrino Oscillations, The Unification of the Electromagnetic and Weak Interaction and The Interaction of Photons and Neutrons With Matter. He told his students: “Explain it! The most important thing is, that you are able to explain it! You will have exams, there you have to explain it. Eventually, you pass them, you get your diploma and you think, that's it! – No, the whole life is an exam, you'll have to write applications, you'll have to discuss with peers... So learn to explain it! You can train this by explaining to another student, a colleague. If they are not available, explain it to your mother – or to your cat!”

The leader

Rudolf Mössbauer was director of the Institute Laue Langevin from 1972 on. This international neutron research institute developed to the largest facility of its kind and today still is.

Receiving the Nobel Prize

In the physics community it is believed that Mössbauer's advancement from Research Fellow to Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology, which occurred over a period of only one year before he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1961, was because Caltech thought it improper to have 'only' a Research Fellow of theirs receive a Nobel.

See also

External links

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