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Thomas Gold's explanation of pulsars


Binding of nuclear matter: simultaneous exchange of two pions
Hans Bethe Scientist
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The phenomenological potentials were derived by a group in Bonn and a group in Paris which fit the scattering data very well, and Panderia Pandi at Illinois refined this still further. These are all phenomenological and we are only guided gently by fundamental theory. Gerald Brown has been very instrumental in that. The... back in 1947, 1948, 1949, we thought that the exchange of one pion between two nucleons would give the main force. Gerald Brown pointed out that a much stronger force comes from the simultaneous exchange of two pions, and one also has to take into account that you can also exchange a heavier meson, the rho meson, between two nucleons and only then can you fully explain the charge distribution in nuclear as well as the binding energy.

The late German-American physicist Hans Bethe once described himself as the H-bomb's midwife. He left Nazi Germany in 1933, after which he helped develop the first atomic bomb, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967 for his contribution to the theory of nuclear reactions, advocated tighter controls over nuclear weapons and campaigned vigorously for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Listeners: Sam Schweber

Silvan Sam Schweber is the Koret Professor of the History of Ideas and Professor of Physics at Brandeis University, and a Faculty Associate in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. He is the author of a history of the development of quantum electro mechanics, "QED and the men who made it", and has recently completed a biography of Hans Bethe and the history of nuclear weapons development, "In the Shadow of the Bomb: Oppenheimer, Bethe, and the Moral Responsibility of the Scientist" (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Tags: Universität Bonn, University of Paris, Gerald Brown

Duration: 1 minute, 38 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008