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Rainwater, Leo James

model atomic nucleus experimental

(1917–86) US physicist: unified two theoretical models of the atomic nucleus.

After studying at the California Institute of Technology, Rainwater went to Columbia University, and remained there to become professor of physics in 1952. During the war he contributed to the Manhattan (atomic bomb) Project.

In 1950, two theories were available to describe the atomic nucleus and each was in accord with some experimental results. In one model the nuclear particles were arranged in concentric shells; the other model described the nucleus as analogous to a liquid drop. Neither model accounted for experiments that appeared to show that some nuclei are not electrically spherically symmetrical. In explaining this, Rainwater in 1950 produced a collective model, in which the two ideas were combined. In association with Aage Bohr (1922– ;son of ) and B R Mottelson (1926– ), Rainwater developed this theory and they secured experimental evidence in its support. The three shared a Nobel Prize in 1975.

Raisin, Catherine Alice [next] [back] Rainey, Joseph(1832–1887) - Congressman, Enters Politics in South Carolina, Life after Congress, Chronology

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