a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Condensation of K-minus mesons


An upper limit to the mass of a neutron star
Hans Bethe Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

We believe, Gerry Brown and I, that there is an upper limit to the mass of a neutron star which is probably close to 1.5 solar masses, so Taylor's star is very close to that. Not everybody believes us on that. The older ideas which were first derived maybe in the work by Johnson, Malone and myself, was that it could be as big as 2.00 solar masses, maybe even a little more than that, depending on the equation of state matter at high density. Well, we think that the limit is about 1.5 and the reason for that is that... there is some evidence, not totally convincing evidence, that the neutron star which was formed in the supernova of 1987A that that collapsed into a black hole. We see no evidence at all of the existence of a neutron star in the middle of the nebula which was... is left behind by that supernova explosion. Again, not everybody believes that, but... but I think it is very likely.

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: SN 1987A, Supernova 1987 A, Gerald Brown, Joseph H Taylor Jr, RC Malone, MB Johnson

Duration: 1 minute, 48 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008