EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES / AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES / AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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J. Hans D. Jensen (1907-1973), German physicist. Johannes Hans Daniel Jensen developed the nuclear shell model, where the arrangement of protons and neutrons (nucleons) in an atom's nucleus determines the atomic stability. Atomic nuclei have several shells, similar to an onion's layers, in which nucleons are arranged. When nucleons are added, they fill the innermost shell available and only progress to outer shells when it is full. The most stable elements are those with atoms that have full inner shells and empty outer rings, rather than half-filled shells. Jensen shared half the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics with Maria Goeppert-Mayer for this discovery, the other half of which went to Eugene Wigner.
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