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Rudolf Mossbauer, German physicist

Rudolf Mossbauer, German physicist

H413/0417

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Credit

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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Caption

Rudolf Mossbauer (1929-2011), German physicist. Mossbauer discovered his 'Mossbauer effect' in 1957, a phenomenon where gamma rays are produced by nuclear transitions. When an atom's nucleus moves from an unstable high-energy state to a stable low-energy one, the extra energy is given off as gamma radiation. When the gamma rays are emitted they can be reabsorbed, an effect called resonance. Looking at how much resonance takes place reveals how atomic nuclei, electrons and neighbouring atoms interact within solids. In 1961, Mossbauer shared the Nobel Prize with Robert Hofstadter, who had determined the structures of particles inside atomic nuclei.

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