Molecular Beams, Experimental Discovery, and Theoretical and Mathematical Insights
(This information was taken from the Distinguished Scientist Lecture Series Program 1980-81).
Dr. Rabi was born in Raymanon, Austria, and came to the United States when he was one year old. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and then, after two years of study in Munich, Copenhagen, Leipzig, and Zurich, returned to Columbia as a professor of physics. In 1940, Dr. Rabi took a leave of absence from Columbia to serve as associate director of the Radiation Lab at M .I. T., where he worked on the development of radar. During this period he served on the General Advisory Committee of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. He later conducted research at the Brookhaven National Laboratories on the peacetime uses of atomic energy. He has been science advisor to the government under a succession of presidents. Among his many awards and honors are the Atoms for Peace Award and the Nobel Prize in physics in 1944.
In 1930, Dr. Rabi began experiments on the magnetic properties of atomic nuclei. His work in the area helped determine the course of research on the atom throughout the 30's and 40's. He established the need for precise, accurate knowledge of the magnetic and electrical properties of the atom and of the forces which hold nuclei together. Complementing the work of Otto Stem, fellow physicist and Nobel Prize recipient, Rabi began manipulating beams of atoms to study the magnetic structure of nuclei. For developing the molecular beam resonance technique, a major tool in nuclear research, Rabi was awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in physics. Dr. Rabi's work was fundamental to the subsequent development of lasers and masers, particularly as tools in atomic research. Dr. Rabi's lecture is titled "Molecular Beams, Experimental Discovery, and Theoretical and Mathematical Insights." He will focus particularly on the connections between theory and experimentation - - how theory points the way to discovery, and how discovery gives rise to new theory.
March 14, 1981
Rabi, I. I,, "Molecular Beams, Experimental Discovery, and Theoretical and Mathematical Insights" (1981). DSLS 1980-1981. 4.