Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1936
Victor F. Hess, Carl D. Anderson

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Victor F. Hess - Facts

Victor Franz Hess

Victor Franz Hess

Born: 24 June 1883, Peggau, Austria

Died: 17 December 1964, Mount Verno, NY, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Innsbruck University, Innsbruck, Austria

Prize motivation: "for his discovery of cosmic radiation"

Field: astrophysics, cosmic radiation

Prize share: 1/2


When radiation and atoms interact, charged atoms, ions, are often produced. In 1912 Victor Hess measured atmospheric ionization as function of altitude using balloons. Surprisingly, he found that ionization first decreased, but then increased again at higher altitudes. He concluded that the upper atmosphere is ionized by radiation from space. He proved that this radiation is not solar through experiments performed at night and during eclipses: cosmic rays had been discovered.

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