Hans Bethe

Hans Bethe

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Hans Bethe. Historical portrait of the German-US physicist Hans Bethe (1906-2005). Bethe deduced the manner in which high-energy particles can emit radiation. Then, in 1939, he proposed the first detailed theory of energy generation by hot stars. The theory details the nuclear fusion processes that convert hydrogen to helium, the carbon cycle (carbon-12 plays a role). Bethe also contributed, with Alpher and Gamow, to their theory of the origin of chemical elements in the early universe. Bethe received the 1967 Nobel Prize for Physics. During World War II, he was the director of theoretical physics for the American atomic bomb project.

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