Victor Franz Hess

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Hess, Victor Franz


Born June 24, 1883, in Waldstein; died Dec. 17, 1964, in Mount Vernon, N. Y. Austrian physicist.

Hess studied at the universities of Graz and Vienna. Beginning in 1920 he was a professor at the University of Graz and then in Innsbruck. In 1938 he moved to the USA, where he occupied a chair at Fordham University. His major works dealt with the physics of cosmic rays, radioactivity, atomic theory, and optics. In 1912 he discovered that the ionization of the air increases with altitude, and on the basis of this discovery, he made the assumption of the existence of radiation of cosmic origin (cosmic rays). Hess received a Nobel Prize in 1936.