Rainwater, James

Rainwater, James,

1917–86, American physicist, Ph.D. Columbia, 1946. After working on the Manhattan ProjectManhattan Project,
the wartime effort to design and build the first nuclear weapons (atomic bombs). With the discovery of fission in 1939, it became clear to scientists that certain radioactive materials could be used to make a bomb of unprecented power. U.S.
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 as a student during World War II, he became a professor of physics at Columbia in 1952. His theory that not all atomic nuclei are spherical was verified experimentally by Danish physicists Aage N. BohrBohr, Aage Niels
, 1922–2009, Danish physicist, Ph.D. Univ. of Copenhagen, 1954. He worked with his father Niels Bohr (who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922) in the 1940s on the development of the atomic bomb, became a professor of physics in 1956, and succeeded
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 and Benjamin R. MottelsonMottelson, Benjamin Roy,
1926–, Danish physicist, b. Chicago, Ph.D. Harvard, 1950. Raised and educated in the United States, he moved to Denmark, where he began work as a nuclear physicist.
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. For their work the three researchers shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physics. Rainwater also received the Atomic Energy Commission's Ernest Orlando Lawrence Prize for Physics in 1963.
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Rainwater, (Leo) James

(1917–86) physicist; born in Council, Ida. He taught at Columbia University (1939–42), worked on the Manhattan Project (1942–46), then returned to Columbia (1946–86). With Aage Bohr and B. R. Mottelson, he produced a nuclear model unifying the two prevailing theories of nuclear structure. The three shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in physics for this work.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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