Clifford G. Shull
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1994
Born: 23 September 1915, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Died: 31 March 2001, Medford, MA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA
Prize motivation: "for the development of the neutron diffraction technique."
Prize share: 1/2
Atomic nuclei are composed of protons and neutrons. Clifford Shull and Bertram Brockhouse developed methods for investigating different materials with beams of neutrons created in a nuclear reactor. According to principles of quantum mechanics, neutrons and other particles can be described as a wave movement, and neutron radiation that passes a regular atomic structure gives rise to diffraction patterns. In 1946 Clifford Shull developed methods to make use of this to determine the structure of different molecules and materials.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.