American Philosophical Society
Member History

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106. Physics[X]
1Name:  Dr. Ben R. Mottelson
 Institution:  The Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
 Year Elected:  2011
 Class:  1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 Subdivision:  106. Physics
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1926
 Death Date:  May 13, 2022
Ben Mottelson is one of the giants of theoretical nuclear physics. With Aage Bohr, he discovered the connection between collective and single particle motion in atomic nuclei, thus establishing the modern framework for understanding the rich experimental behavior of nuclei. For this discovery, he, Bohr, and Rainwater received the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physics. The two volume study, Nuclear Structure, is the standard in the field. With Pines and Bohr, he pioneered the application of BCS theory of superconductivity to nuclei. He has been a major international figure, a founder and first director of the European Center for Nuclear Theory, and proponent of international cooperation - recognized by election to many nations’ scientific academies. He remains quite scientifically active, focusing on two new areas: man-made finite quantal systems (e.g., metallic clusters, quantum dots, and ultracold atomic clouds), which, as he has shown, can be fruitfully viewed as "artificial" nuclei; and reinterpretation of the foundations of quantum mechanics, where the central issue he grapples with is the role of fortuitousness in the theory. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1950 and was awarded the John Wetherill Medal in 1974. He is a member of the Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters (1958 - foreign, 1974 - (Danish), the National Academy of Sciences (1973), and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (1971). He was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2011.
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