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Goeppert-Mayer (Goeppert, Mayer), Maria

( German-American physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1963)

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Biography Goeppert-Mayer (Goeppert, Mayer), Maria
June 28, 1906, Mr.. - 20 February 1972
German-American physicist Maria Goeppert-Mayer (nцLe Maria Goeppert) was born in Kattovittse (now Katowice in Poland). M. was the only child in a family medicine professor Friedrich Goeppert and nee Mary Wolff, a school teacher. After moving to the United States of GM-M. Anglicize spelling of her maiden name. When Mary was four years old, the family moved to GцTttingen, where his father became a professor in the Department of childhood illnesses at the local university. Close friends of their homes were Max Born and James Franck. Among other friends were a lot of physicists from the University of Gottingen, involved in the creation of the new physics, owes its appearance to quantum mechanics. His father encouraged early to show love to the daughter of science, he took her with him on the nature, showing solar and lunar eclipses, gathered with her collection of fossils.
. Young Maria excellently studied in urban schools, but the knowledge given to it, it was not enough for admission to the university, where she planned to study mathematics
. Therefore, in 1921. she entered Frauenshtudium - private preparatory school for girls, led by suffragists. However, the school closed down due to lack of funds, before she could complete the full three-year course, but G.-M., doing their own, able to withstand the entrance exams and in 1924. was admitted to the university.
At that time, the University of Gottingen was the leading center of research in the new field of physics - quantum mechanics. When Max Born, invited GM-M. participate in the seminar led by him physically, her interests shifted from mathematics to physics and quantum mechanics have focused on dealing with the study of behavior of atoms, nuclei and subatomic particles. Shortly after the start of classes in physics GA-M. spent one semester at Cambridge University, where she met with the famous English physicist Ernest Rutherford. Doctoral degree she received in 1930. in GцTttingen with a thesis entitled 'Elementary processes with two quantum jumps' ( 'On Elemental Processes Whith Two Quantun Jumps'). Examinations she took a commission composed of Max Born, James Franck, and Adolf Windaus.
After his father died in 1927. her mother opened a boarding house, as is often practiced in Gottingen. One of the inhabitants of the guesthouse was Joseph E. Maier, an American chemist at the California Institute of Technology. Mary and Joseph fell in love and married in January 1930, shortly before the GA-M. received a doctorate. They had a son and a daughter. After the marriage began to call herself Maria Goeppert-Mayer, retaining her maiden name, she says, of 'a sense of pride for seven generations of university professors' paternal. A month after the wedding the young couple sailed to the United States, where Joseph Mayer was invited to place an assistant professor of chemistry at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (Maryland).
. Despite his doctoral degree and excellent reviews, prevailed at the time relevant to the wives of faculty members did not allow GM-M
. get paid to place a teacher at Johns Hopkins University. However, she managed to get an assistant of a member of the Faculty of Physics. Her job was to analyze the correspondence in German. This modest position gave GM-M. small salary, a tiny study room and opportunity to some extent participate in university life.
The scope of his scientific career GM-M. decided to elect a chemical physics, responsible for studying molecules and their interactions, but used it and other opportunities that presented themselves on the physical and mathematical faculty. From physicist Carl F. Herzfelde, friendly relations with whom she maintained a lifelong GM-M. investigated the energy distribution along the surface of solids and the behavior of hydrogen dissolved in metallic palladium. After Herzfelde retired from Johns Hopkins University, GA-M. with one of his former students of Alfred Sklyar took up the study of quantum mechanical electronic levels of benzene and the structure of several organic dyes. In this work, she demonstrated excellent mathematical training, applying methods of group theory and matrix theory. Summer 1931, 1932 and 1933. it, partly because of homesickness, held in Gettigene, where she worked with Bourne.
In 1933, the same year, when Germany's Nazis came to power, GA-M. an American citizen. Anti-Semitism and racist laws detrimental impact on the German science: many eminent scholars of Jewish origin, including Born and Frank, left Germany. Meyer House in Baltimore, was opened for refugees from Germany, most of whom were Jews.
At Johns Hopkins University spouse Mayer performed together several works, mainly on the theory of condensation. In 1938. they wrote a monograph 'Statistical mechanics' ( 'Statistical Mechanics') on the behavior of large numbers of interacting particles, such as gases and liquids. By the time the book came out in 1940. Joseph Meyer was an assistant professor of chemistry at Columbia University in New York. Columbia University suggested that GM-M. more inferior position than that which it occupied in the Johns Hopkins University. While dean of the Faculty of Physics gave her parlor, she had no official position and did not receive a salary. But at Columbia University, she had the opportunity to work with Enrico Fermi and Harold K. Urey on the problems of chemical and atomic structure, and Uri provided G.-M. right to lecture on chemistry. With couple, Uri Mayer wife became close friends.
In 1941, Mr.. GA-M. became a teacher at Sarah Lawrence College, but with underemployment. It was her first paid teaching post. The following year, Yuri brought her to the Manhattan Project (in which the work was conducted to develop the atomic bomb). GA-M. led a group that studies the possibility of separating fissile isotope of uranium from natural uranium with the photochemical reactions. In 1945, Mr.. She spent several months in the Los Alamos Laboratory of the Manhattan Project, where she worked with the Hungarian-American physicist Edward Teller.
After the war, Joseph Meyer became a professor of chemistry, University of Chicago. Although GM-M. in 1946. was appointed assistant professor of physics at the same university, but did not receive a salary, as it was prohibited by university rules aimed at combating nepotism. In 1946, Mr.. She was concurrently a senior physicist at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, where to build a nuclear reactor. In argon GA-M. collaborated with Fermi, Urey, Franck and Teller, and worked on the calculations of critical liquid metal breeder reactor. Calculations were performed on the first electronic computer - electronic numerical integrator and computer (ENIAC), installation of which was completed shortly before the artillery range at the United States Army at Aberdeen (Md.).
. It was then, working with Teller on the theory of the origin of chemical elements, GA-M
. faced with the 'magic' numbers, which was first mentioned in his work in 1933. German physicist Walter Elsasser. Atomic nuclei are composed of protons (positively charged particles, more than 1800 times heavier than the negatively charged electrons) and neutrons (electrically neutral particles with mass, almost coinciding with the mass of protons). GA-M. found that for some inexplicable reason, the prevalence of nuclei greatly exceeds the prevalence of others and, therefore, these nuclei should possess extremely high stability. Prevalence and stability tend to converge, since the unstable nucleus with a high probability turns into another, undergoing radioactive decay. If the decay product is also unstable, with time and it breaks, and so until until a stable product. Stable nuclei remain and accumulate. In particular the nuclei of excess number of protons or the number of neutrons equal to one of the magic numbers 2, 8, 20, 28, 50, 82, 126 and at least some of the other.
GA-M. knew that a similar situation exists for the atomic electrons circulating around the nucleus. The stability of atoms is of chemical nature, tk. chemical reaction is determined by whether the loss occurs, acquisition or socialization of electrons (atomic nuclei remain unchanged). As the periodic table of chemical elements, with increasing atomic number of the chemical properties of elements are repeated, forming loops, or periods. Atomic number - the number of protons (positively charged particles) in the nucleus, which is equal to the number of electrons (negatively charged particles), circulating around the nucleus in the unperturbed atom, which results in a whole is electrically neutral.
. Periodic stability occurs when certain atomic numbers, received an explanation on the basis of atomic energy levels associated with the angular momentum of electrons circulating around the nucleus
. According to quantum theory, energy levels are restricted to certain discrete values. Angular moments arise from the circulation of electrons around the nucleus (orbital angular momentum) and the rotation of the electron around its own axis like a top (spin). (Quantum mechanics rejects such a simple and intelligent way, but they are useful.) Since moving electrons is nothing like an electric current, they create a magnetic field. Just like two magnets repel or attract each other, the orbital angular momentum and spin of electrons interact with each other (spin-orbit coupling). According to quantum theory, each of the permitted level of angular momentum corresponds to a number of discrete energy states. When these conditions are related to the electron spin, there is a system of energy levels, each of which is determined by a set of four quantum numbers. Added to this restriction imposed by the principle of prohibition of Wolfgang Pauli. According to this principle, in each quantum state specified by a set of four quantum numbers, can be only one electron. As a result, with increasing atomic number, when the number of electrons increases each time by one, the next electron occupies the next, more free level. The total energy increases step by step.
The steps, which increases energy, is not uniform: clusters small steps are separated by an unusually large strides. On the basis of earlier ideas about electrons circulating around the nucleus at different distances, such accumulation levels are called shells. On the chemical element, an atom which is farthest from the nucleus, the electron is the last level before the big gap, they say that it closes the shell. Element with the next (higher) atomic number, which has one electron more than the previous item, starts the next shell. Closed shell corresponds to the stable element. Since the disruption of or accession of a single electron in the case of closed shell requires more than the usual amount of energy in chemical reactions such an element enters 'reluctantly'.
. Scheme of shells was applied to the nucleus when it is assumed that protons and netrony like turning around each other, but had limited success
. Kernel is very different from the atom. It is well known force of interaction between electric charges. Electrons are at relatively large distances from each other, and their mutual repulsion is weak, so the energy of one electron is only slightly dependent on the position of other. Nuclear same force between protons and between protons and neutrons are at small distances, so you can expect that the energy of a particle depends strongly on the position of other intranuclear particles. Single center of gravity in the nucleus does not exist. These differences have led theoretical physicists in the early stage of the study concluded that the spin-orbit coupling for the protons and neutrons in a nucleus should be almost negligibly weak.
GA-M. persistently struggled to solve the problem of nuclear structure. At the beginning of its work, she discovered the two magic numbers: 50 and 82. Then, analyzing the experimental data, she found five more magic numbers, but could not explain their. The decisive moment came in 1948 when Fermi asked her: 'Are there any signs of the spin-orbit svyaziN' immediately realized that the spin-orbit coupling gives a clue to the problem, it is the same evening was able to explain the nuclear magic numbers. GA-M. showed that the core is also made of shells. According to her, the nucleus in their structure resembles an onion: it consists of layers containing protons and neutrons, which orbit around each other in orbit, as couples, Going Places at the ball. The nuclei are stable, if the shell of protons or neutrons are filled. The magic numbers for nuclei are different from the magic numbers for the atomic electrons, but the analogy between those and the other in accordance with relevant amendments exist.
About his work on the theory of nuclear shells GA-M. reported in two papers published in the journal 'Fizikal Review' in 1948 and 1949. Their arrival coincided with the publication of almost the same theory J. Hans D. Jensen of the University of Heidelberg, who worked with Otto Hakselem and Hans E. Suess. GA-M. and Jensen met in 1950, Mr.. in Germany, became friends and worked together on the book 'The elementary theory of nuclear shell structure' ( 'Elementary Theory of Nuclear Shell Structure'), which was published in 1955
GA-M. and Jensen were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 1963. 'for the discovery of the shell structure of the nucleus'. The second half of this year's prize was awarded to Eugene P. Wigner. Introducing the new laureates, Ivar Waller of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences reminded the audience that before the opening of GM-M. 'could not explain more than three magic numbers ... She and Jensen convincingly demonstrated the importance of the shell model for the systematization of the accumulated material and the prediction of new phenomena associated with the ground state and low-lying excited states of nuclei '.
In 1960, Mr.. University of San Diego invited spouses Mayer. Mary was offered the post of full professor of physics, Joseph - Professor of Chemistry. Shortly after moving to California from GM-M. had a stroke, possibly caused by a viral infection. She was partially paralyzed, disrupted speech. After impact the health of GM-M. beginning to deteriorate rapidly, but she continued to engage in teaching activities and work on further development of nuclear physics. GA-M. continue to cooperate with the Jensen. Their latest collaboration was published in 1966, for 6 years before she died in San Diego of a heart attack.
GA-M. was elected to the National Academy of Sciences of the USA and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences in Heidelberg. She was an honorary doctor of Smith College, Russell Sage College and the College of Mount Holyoke.


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Goeppert-Mayer (Goeppert, Mayer), Maria, photo, biography
Goeppert-Mayer (Goeppert, Mayer), Maria, photo, biography Goeppert-Mayer (Goeppert, Mayer), Maria  German-American physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1963, photo, biography
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