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Prof. Ben R. Mottelson

(Foreign Fellow, )

Denmark (DN)
Denmark (DN)

Nobel Laureate Professor Ben R. Mottelson was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 9, 1926. He is second of three children of Goodman Mottelson and Georgia Mottelson (née Blum). His father held a University degree in Engineering. His childhood home was a place where scientific, political and moral issues were freely and vigorously discussed. He attended primary school and high school in the village of La Grange, Illinois.

After graduating from high school during the Second World War, he was sent by the U.S. Navy to Purdue University for officers training (V12 program) and remained there to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in 1947. His graduate studies were at Harvard University and his Ph.D. work was on a problem in Nuclear Physics, directed by Professor Julian Schwinger and completed in 1950. eceiving a Sheldon Travelling Fellowship from Harvard University, he spent the year 1950 - 1951 at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen (later the Niels Bohr Institute) where so much of modern physics had been created and where there were such special traditions for international cooperation. A fellowship from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission permitted him to continue his work in Copenhagen for two more years after which he held a research position in the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) theoretical study group that was formed in Copenhagen. With the founding of the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Atomic Physics in Copenhagen (1957) he received a position as Professor, which he held since the spring term of 1959 and spent as Visiting Professor in the University of California at Berkeley.

He had the close scientific collaboration with Aage Bohr began in 1951 and continued ever since. He and his colleagues feel that in this cooperation they have been able to exploit possibilities that lie in a dialogue between kindred spirits that have been attuned through a long period of common experience and jointly developed understanding. The lectures that were published, attempted a discussion of the main influences that they had built on and the viewpoints that was developed in this collaboration. It was their good fortune to work closely together with colleagues at the Niels Bohr Institute and Nordita, including the many outstanding scientists who came from all parts of the world and enriched the scientific atmosphere and personal contacts. Professor Mottelson is a Foreign Fellow of the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences.

Together with Rainwater and Bohr, Mottelson were jointly awarded the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the discovery of the connection between collective motion and particle motion in atomic nuclei and the development of the theory of the structure of the atomic nucleus based on this connection".

Mottelson continued to work with Bohr and have published a two-volume monograph, Nuclear Structure. The first volume, Single-Particle Motion, appeared in 1969, and the second volume, Nuclear Deformations, in 1975. Professor Mottelson is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He is an honorary member of the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters, a member of the American Philosophical Society, and a foreign fellow of Bangladesh Academy of Sciences and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. In 1969, he received the Atoms for Peace Award. He acted as director of ECT (Trento, Italy) from 1993 to 1997.

Dr. Ben Mottelson lives in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Denmark (DN)
Last updated on 23/01/2022