Do You Know The First Application Of Quantum Mechanics To Nuclear Physics?

George Gamow (1904-1968)


George Gamow born in Russia did his first important work at Gottingen in 1928 when he developed the theory of alpha decay, the first application of quantum mechanics to nuclear physics. (Edward U. Condon and Ronald W Gurney, working together, arrived at the same theory independently of Gamow at about the same –time). In 1929 he proposed the liquid-drop model of nucleus. After periods in Copenhagen, Cambridge, and Leningrad, Gamow went to United States in 1934 where he was first at George Washington University and later at university of Colorado. In1936 Gamow collaborated with Edward Teller on an extension of Fermi’s theory of beta decay. Much of his later research was concerned with astrophysics, notably on the evolutions of stars, where he showed that as a star uses up its supply of hydrogen in thermonuclear reactions, it becomes hotter, not cooler. Gamow also did important work on the origin of universe (he and his students predicted the 2.7K remnant radiation from the big bang) and on the formation of the elements.  His books for general public introduced many people to the concepts of modern physics.

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