Donald A. Glaser


Donald Arthur Glaser

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Donald Arthur Glaser
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1960

Born: 21 September 1926, Cleveland, OH, USA

Died: 28 February 2013, Berkeley, CA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA

Prize motivation: “for the invention of the bubble chamber”

Prize share: 1/1


Donald Glaser was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Russian immigrants. His father was a businessman. After first studying at Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland, he later received his PhD in physics from California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, in 1949. He then moved to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he carried out the research that led to his Nobel Prize, before moving to the University of California, Berkeley, in 1959. Beginning in the 1960s, Glaser devoted himself to molecular biology. He was married twice and had two children from his first marriage.


Our ability to study the smallest components of our world took a giant leap forward when C.T.R. Wilson invented the cloud chamber, where the trails of charged particles can be observed. Donald Glaser's invention of the bubble chamber in 1952 made it possible to study particles with higher energies. When charged particles rush forward through the chamber filled with a liquid at near-boiling point, they ionize atoms they pass by. When the pressure inside the chamber is then reduced, bubbles form around these charged atoms. The particles' tracks can then be photographed and analyzed.

To cite this section
MLA style: Donald A. Glaser – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Thu. 20 Jun 2024. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.