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  Latest News  
  March 14,  2005
Volume 83, Number 11
p. 11


  Physics Giant Hans Bethe Dies  



Hans A. Bethe, a pioneer of 20th-century physics, died on March 6 at his home in Ithaca, N.Y. He was 98.

Bethe, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967, was an emeritus professor of physics at Cornell University.

During World War II, Bethe was a key figure in the building of the first atomic bomb as head of the Theoretical Physics Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In the 20 years following the war, Bethe became more involved in what he called "political physics," an attempt to educate the public and politicians about the consequences of the existence of nuclear weapons. He was a champion of arms control, helping to persuade the White House to ban atmospheric nuclear tests in 1963 and antiballistic missile systems in 1972.

Born in Germany, Bethe studied physics at the University of Frankfurt and did research in theoretical physics at the University of Munich, where he received his doctorate in 1928. He was forced to flee Nazi Germany because his mother was Jewish.

He immigrated to the U.S., accepting a position at Cornell in 1935. In 1938, he published his influential paper on the theory of energy production in stars that explained how the sun shines. The work won him the Nobel Prize.

Bethe is survived by his wife, Rose, and two children, Henry and Monica.

  Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2005

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