The 2008 Helmut W. Baer Lecture in Physics was held on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 in 340 West Hall at 4:00 PM
John P. Schiffer*
Professor Schiffer's lecture was titled, The Early Foundations of Nuclear Physics
A historical perspective of nuclear physics and the origins of modern physics will be given. This talk was first presented as a part of a symposium in celebrating the 100th anniversary of Hiroshi Yukawa's birth. Yukawa was Japan's first Nobel Prize winner; he deduced that the very short range of nuclear forces must imply a new light particle. This particle was discovered a decade later and we now know it as the pi meson.
In this talk, I will survey the discoveries that preceded Yukawa's work, starting with the origins of modern physics around 1890, and following the development of nuclear physics through the 1930's when Yukawa did his work, roughly to the middle of the past century. The resolution of a rumor regarding the interaction of Yukawa and Hans Bethe will be presented. An overall personal perspective on nuclear physics in the 21st century will conclude the talk.
To watch The Early Foundations of Nuclear Physics, please click here.