Rabi, Isidor Isaac

Rabi, Isidor Isaac

(rŏb`ē), 1898–1988, American physicist, b. Austria, grad. Cornell, 1919, Ph.D. Columbia, 1927. A teacher at Columbia from 1929, he became professor of physics in 1937. He is known for his work in magnetism, molecular beams, and quantum mechanics. For his discovery and measurement of the radio-frequency spectra of atomic nuclei whose magnetic spin has been disturbed, he was awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in Physics. From 1952 to 1956 he was chairman of the general advisory committee to the Atomic Energy Commission. He was appointed (1957) chairman of the President's Science Advisory Committee and served as consultant to many national and international organizations.


See his autobiography (1960); Science: The Center of Culture (ed. by R. N. Anshen, 1970).

Rabi, Isidor Isaac


Born July 29, 1898 in Rymanów, now in Poland. American physicist. Member of the National Academy of Sciences (1940).

Rabi studied at Cornell and Columbia universities. From 1924 to 1927 he taught at City College in New York. From 1927 to 1929 he did graduate work at the universities of Munich, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Leipzig, and Zürich. He has been working at Columbia University since 1929; he became a professor in 1937. From 1940 to 1945 he was assistant to the director of the Radiation Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he conducted defense research.

Rabi’s early works were devoted to atomic spectroscopy and the use of molecular beams to study the hyperfine structure of atomic energy levels. In the period 1933–39 he developed a method of measuring the magnetic moments of atomic nuclei by means of radio-frequency resonance and carried out precise measurements of the magnetic moments of the proton and deu-teron. Rabi was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1944.


“A New Method of Measuring Nuclear Magnetic Moment.” Physical Review, 1938, vol. 53, no. 4. (Coauthor.)
“The Molecular Beam Resonance Method for Measuring Nuclear Magnetic Moments.” Ibid., 1939, vol. 55, no. 6. (Coauthor.)
My Life and Times as a Physicist. Claremont, Calif., 1960.