Born: 5 February 1915, New York, NY, USA
Died: 17 November 1990, Stanford, CA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for his pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his thereby achieved discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleons"
Field: nuclear physics
Prize share: 1/2
Matter is composed of atoms with a small nucleus surrounded by electrons. Robert Hofstadter developed experimental means in order to study the structure of the nucleus. A high energy electron beam from an accelerator was directed towards nuclei and by examining the scattering of the electrons, he could investigate how charges were distributed. In addition he could also investigate how the magnetic moments were distributed. Nuclei are not homogeneous but have an internal structure.