J. Hans D. Jensen
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1963
Born: 25 June 1907, Hamburg, Germany
Died: 11 February 1973, Heidelberg, West Germany (now Germany)
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
Prize motivation: “for their discoveries concerning nuclear shell structure”
Prize share: 1/4
According to modern physics, an atom consists of a nucleus made up of nucleons—protons and neutrons—surrounded by electrons distributed within shells with a fixed number of electrons. It became apparent that atomic nuclei in which the number of nucleons corresponded to full electron shells are especially stable. In 1949 Hans Jensen and Maria Goeppert Mayer developed a model in which nucleons were distributed in shells with different energy levels. The model reflected observations of directions in which nucleons rotated around their own axes and around the center of the nucleus.