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 Shull developed methods to make use of this to determine the structure of different molecules and materials.