Walther Bothe in the 1950s
8 January 1891|
Oranienburg, German Empire
|Died||8 February 1957
Heidelberg, West Germany
|Fields||Physics, mathematics, chemistry|
|Institutions||University of Berlin
University of Giessen
University of Heidelberg
Max Planck Institute for Medical Research
|Alma mater||University of Berlin|
|Doctoral advisor||Max Planck|
|Doctoral students||Hans Ritter von Baeyer|
|Known for||Coincidence circuit|
|Notable awards||Nobel Prize for Physics (1954)
Max Planck Medal (1953)
During this time I had the singular good fortune of being able to discuss the problem constantly with Einstein. Some experiments done at Einstein's suggestion yielded no decisively new result.
The material particle nature of primary cosmic radiation has been confirmed, although the processes turned out to be extraordinarily more complicated than we had assumed.
To demonstrate this simultaneity is by no means trivial, because it may for example happen that the product nucleus always forms in an activated state at first.
The Laboratory for Radioactivity consisted of only two rooms at the time; at a later date, when tests of radioactive substances became more extensive, it expanded into four rooms.
Direction coupling between the various radiations generated in a nuclear reaction both with one another and with the initiating radiation can also be detected and measured by coincidences; this provides valuable information about the structure of the atomic nuclei.
This result was confirmed by different researchers using various experimental arrangements.
Strict conservation of energy in the elementary process had thus been confirmed also by a negative experiment.
Many applications of the coincidence method will therefore be found in the large field of nuclear physics, and we can say without exaggeration that the method is one of the essential tools of the modern nuclear physicist.
Rossi was the first to describe another system working with valves in parallel; it has the advantage that it can easily be extended to coincidences between more than two events, and is therefore predominantly used today.
In this case, the particle formed has correspondingly less energy, whereas the product nucleus passes into the ground state with emission of the quantity of energy saved as gamma radiation.