This year's Nobel science prize in physics was awarded Monday (October 30) to a United States nuclear physicist who explained how stars produce energy.
Professor Bethe talking at news conference. He says he was surprised and delighted that he won the prize. He also discusses the responsibility a scientist has to society concerning his inventions.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: This year's Nobel science prize in physics was awarded Monday (October 30) to a United States nuclear physicist who explained how stars produce energy. He is Hans Albrecht Bethe, professor of theoretical physics at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
Professor Bethe was chosen by the swedish Royal Academy of Science from among 100 candidates as winner of the physics prize. He will also receive a cash award of 61,700 dollars. He said he had no plans for the money.
Bethe's work dates from the 1930's. A spokesman of the Royal Academy explained that "by combining known data from laboratory nuclear studies with theoretical computations professor Bethe concluded that the energy radiated by stars must result from long processes in which hydrogen fused to form helium." The spokesman said that professor Bethe's theory remained only a theory until the 1950's. Since then, parts of it have been verified experimentally. Professor Bethe's work is significant in current attempts to use peacefully the vast energy of hydrogen. The same energy is unleashed with violent force in the explosion of a hydrogen bomb.
Professor Bethe was born in 1906 in Strasbourg, then part of Germany - it is now France - fled Germany during Hitler and has been a professor at Cornell since 1953.