Alvarez, Luis W.


Alvarez, Luis W.

▪ American physicist
in full  Luis Walter Alvarez 
born June 13, 1911, San Francisco, Calif., U.S.
died Sept. 1, 1988, Berkeley, Calif.
 American experimental physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1968 for work that included the discovery of many resonance particles (resonance) (subatomic particles having extremely short lifetimes and occurring only in high-energy nuclear collisions).

      Alvarez studied physics at the University of Chicago (B.S., 1932; M.S., 1934; Ph.D., 1936). He joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, in 1936, becoming professor of physics in 1945 and professor emeritus in 1978. In 1938 Alvarez discovered that some radioactive elements decay by orbital- electron capture; i.e., an orbital electron merges with its nucleus, producing an element with an atomic number smaller by one. In 1939 he and Felix Bloch made the first measurement of the magnetic moment of the neutron, a characteristic of the strength and direction of its magnetic field.

      Alvarez worked on microwave radar research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (1940–43), and participated in the development of the atomic bomb at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Los Alamos, N.M., in 1944–45. He suggested the technique for detonating the implosion type of atomic bomb. He also participated in the development of microwave beacons, linear radar antennas, the ground-controlled landing approach system, and a method for aerial bombing using radar to locate targets. After World War II Alvarez helped construct the first proton linear accelerator and developed the liquid hydrogen bubble chamber in which subatomic particles and their reactions are detected.

      In about 1980 Alvarez helped his son, the geologist Walter Alvarez, publicize Walter's discovery of a worldwide layer of clay that has a high iridium content and which occupies rock strata at the geochronological boundary between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras; i.e., about 66.4 million years ago. They postulated that the iridium had been deposited following the impact on Earth of an asteroid or comet and that the catastrophic climatic effects of this massive impact caused the extinction of the dinosaurs (dinosaur). Though initially controversial, this widely publicized theory gradually gained support as the most plausible explanation of the abrupt demise of the dinosaurs.

      Alvarez's autobiography, Alvarez: Adventures of a Physicist, was published in 1987.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alvarez , Luis Walter — (1911–1988) American physicist Alvarez, the son of a research physiologist, was born in San Francisco and educated at the University of Chicago where he gained his PhD in 1936. He moved soon after to the University of California, Berkeley. Apart… …   Scientists

  • Alvarez, Luis W(alter) — born June 13, 1911, San Francisco, Calif., U.S. died Sept. 1, 1988, Berkeley, Calif. U.S. experimental physicist. He joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley in 1936, where he would remain until 1978. In 1938 he discovered… …   Universalium

  • Alvarez, Luis W(alter) — (13 jun. 1911, San Francisco, Cal., EE.UU.–1 sep. 1988, Berkeley, Cal.). Físico experimental estadounidense. Se incorporó al cuerpo docente de la Universidad de California en Berkeley en 1936, donde permaneció hasta 1978. En 1938 descubrió que… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Alvarez,Luis Walter — Al·va·rez (ălʹvə rĕz ), Luis Walter. 1911 1988. American physicist. He won a 1968 Nobel Prize for his study of subatomic particles. * * * …   Universalium

  • Álvarez, Luis Walter — ► (1911 88) Físico estadounidense. Fue premio Nobel de Física en 1968 por su contribución al conocimiento de las partículas elementales …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Echeverría Álvarez, Luis — ▪ president of Mexico born Jan. 17, 1922, Mexico City       president of Mexico from 1970 to 1976.       Echeverría became the private secretary of the president of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 1940 and received a law… …   Universalium

  • Echeverría Álvarez, Luis — ► (n. 1922) Político mexicano. Fue elegido presidente de la República de 1970 a 1976. Posteriormente fue miembro de la UNESCO (Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura) y embajador …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Luis Alvarez — (Foto auf seinem Los Alamos Dienstausweis während des Zweiten Weltkrieges) Luis Walter Alvarez (* 13. Juni 1911 in San Francisco, Kalifornien; † 1. September 1988 in Berkeley …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Luis W. Alvarez — Luis Alvarez (Foto auf seinem Los Alamos Dienstausweis während des Zweiten Weltkrieges) Luis Walter Alvarez (* 13. Juni 1911 in San Francisco, Kalifornien; † 1. September 1988 in Berkeley …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Luis H. Álvarez — Luis Héctor Álvarez Álvarez Senador por Chihuahua Minoria 1994 – 2000 Sucesor …   Wikipedia Español


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