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Donald A. Glaser

Donald A. GlaserAKA Donald Arthur Glaser

Born: 21-Sep-1926
Birthplace: Cleveland, OH
Died: 28-Feb-2013
Location of death: Berkeley, CA
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist, Inventor
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Inventor of the bubble chamber

American physicist Donald A. Glaser won the 1960 Nobel Prize for Physics, for his 1952 invention of the bubble chamber. Colloquially described as a pressure cooker with windows, the bubble chamber is a transparent and water-tight case filled with an almost boiling-hot liquid. It is an elegantly simply device which takes advantage of a quick of nature as charged atomic particles are accelerated by an atom smasher and then beamed through the chamber, the trajectories of ionizing particles' leave a visible trail of bubbles in the liquid. These bubble trails are then photographed, and the pictures can be analyzed to allow precise measurement of the paths of subatomic particles.

In his earliest experiments, Glaser used beer as the heated liquid with little success, but his more practical bubble chambers used diethyl ether and liquid hydrogen. Early chambers were a few centimeters in diameter; later chambers exceeded two meters in size, with automated measuring and calculation apparatus. Glaser's invention was for decades second only to the cyclotron in its value to research into electrically charged particles, but the bubble chamber has been largely supplanted by more advanced systems including multi-wire chambers, drift chambers, and semiconductor radiation detectors.

He conducted research across a broad spectrum of science, including branching ratios in positive K meson decay, computational modeling of human vision, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis in bacteria, parity violation in non-leptonic hyperon decay, pion-proton scattering, and the value of noise in complicated systems. From 1964 until his death in 2013 he was a professor of neurobiology at the University of California at Berkeley.

Father: William J. Glaser (businessman)
Mother: Lena
Wife: Ruth Bonnie Thompson (m. 1960, one son, one daughter)
Daughter: Louise
Son: William
Wife: Lynn Bercovitz (m. 1975, until his death)

    High School: Cleveland Heights High School, Cleveland Heights, OH (1944)
    University: BS Physics and Mathematics, Case Institute of Technology (1946)
    Teacher: Mathematics, California Institute of Technology (1946)
    Professor: PhD, California Institute of Technology (1950)
    Theological: Physics, University of Michigan (1949-57)
    Scholar: Brookhaven National Laboratory (1952-59)
    Teacher: Physics, University of Michigan (1957-59)
    Teacher: Physics, University of California at Berkeley (1959-64)
    Professor: Physics and Molecular Biology, University of California at Berkeley (1964-2013)

    America Coming Together
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2003
    American Physical Society
    Dean for America
    Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
    Federation of American Scientists Board of Sponsors
    Hillary Clinton for President
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    National Academy of Sciences
    National Science Foundation Research grants
    Obama for Illinois
    Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society
    US Atomic Energy Commission Research grants
    Henry Russel Award 1953
    IOP Charles Vernon Boys Prize 1958
    Nobel Prize for Physics 1960
    Guggenheim Fellowship 1961
    Jewish Ancestry
    Russian Ancestry

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