Giacconi, Riccardo

Giacconi, Riccardo

▪ Italian physicist
born October 6, 1931, Genoa, Italy

      Italian-born physicist who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for his seminal discoveries of cosmic sources of X rays, which helped lay the foundations for the field of X-ray astronomy. Raymond Davis, Jr. (Davis, Raymond, Jr.), and Koshiba Masatoshi also won a share of the award for their research on neutrinos.

      Giacconi received a Ph.D. from the University of Milan in 1954. In 1959 he joined the research firm American Science and Engineering, and in 1973 he moved to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He later directed the Space Telescope Science Institute (1981–93) and the European Southern Observatory (1993–99). In 1999 Giacconi became president of Associated Universities, Incorporated, which operates the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

      Giacconi began his award-winning work in X-ray astronomy in 1959, about a decade after astronomers had first detected X rays from the Sun. Because X rays emitted by cosmic objects are absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere, this radiation could be studied only after the development of sounding rockets that could carry X-ray detectors above most of the atmosphere for brief flights. Giacconi conducted a number of these rocket observations: the data led to the detection of intense X rays from sources outside the solar system, including the star Scorpius X-1 and the Crab Nebula supernova remnant.

      Giacconi's achievements piqued the interest of other scientists in the nascent field of X-ray astronomy, but their research was hampered by the short observation time afforded by rockets. For long-term studies Giacconi encouraged construction of an Earth-orbiting X-ray satellite to survey the sky. Named Uhuru (launched 1970), it raised the number of known X-ray sources into the hundreds. Earlier, Giacconi had worked out the operating principles for a telescope that could focus X rays into images, and in the 1970s he built the first high-definition X-ray telescope. Called the Einstein Observatory (launched 1978), it examined stellar atmospheres and supernova remnants, identified many X-ray double stars (some containing suspected black holes), and detected X-ray sources in other galaxies. In 1976 Giacconi proposed a still more powerful instrument, which was finally launched in 1999 as the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Giacconi — Riccardo Giacconi Riccardo Giacconi (* 6. Oktober 1931 in Genua) ist ein italienisch amerikanischer Astrophysiker, der 2002 mit dem Nobelpreis für Physik „für bahnbrechende Arbeiten in der Astrophysik, die zur Entdeckung von kosmischen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Riccardo Giacconi — (* 6. Oktober 1931 in Genua) ist ein italienisch amerikanischer Astrophysiker, der 2002 mit dem Nobelpreis für Physik „für bahnbrechende Arbeiten in der Astrophysik, die zur Entdeckung von kosmischen Röntgenquellen geführt haben“ ausgezeichnet… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Riccardo Giacconi — (6 octobre 1931 à Gênes, Italie) est un physicien italien et américain. Il est surtout connu pour ses travaux dans le domaine de l astronomie des rayons X. Il est lauréat de la moitié du prix Nobel de physique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Riccardo Giacconi — Riccardo Giacconi. Riccardo Giacconi (6 de octubre, de 1931) es un astrofísico italiano, nacido en Génova Italia, ganador del Premio Nobel de Física en el 2002. Ganó el Premio Nobel Por sus contribuciones pioneras a la astrofísica, que han… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Riccardo Giacconi — Infobox Scientist name = Riccardo Giacconi imagesize=180px caption = National Medal of Science award ceremony, 2003 birth date = birth date and age|1931|10|6 birth place = Genoa, Italy death date = death place = residence = United States… …   Wikipedia

  • Riccardo — is a male given name, Italian version of Richard.It may be refer to:People*Riccardo Azzoli (1984), racecar driver *Riccardo Bacchelli (1891 1985), writer *Riccardo Bonetto (1979), footballer *Riccardo Broschi (1698 1795), composer, brother of… …   Wikipedia

  • Davis, Raymond, Jr. — ▪ 2007       American physicist (b. Oct. 14, 1914, Washington, D.C. d. May 31, 2006, Blue Point, N.Y.), won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 (with Masatoshi Koshiba) for having detected neutrinos. Riccardo Giacconi also won a share of the… …   Universalium

  • Cygnus X-1 — For other uses, see Cygnus X 1 (disambiguation). HDE 226868 HDE 226868 (not shown) is located next to the star η (lower center) in this map of constellation Cygnus …   Wikipedia

  • 3-Kelvin-Strahlung — Temperaturschwankungen in der Hintergrundstrahlung aufgenommen durch den Satelliten COBE (Mission: 1989 1993) Tem …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Brucemedaille — Die Catherine Wolfe Bruce gold medal oder kurz Bruce Medal ist eine jährliche Auszeichnung durch die Astronomical Society of the Pacific für herausragende Lebensleistungen für die Astronomie, gestiftet von der namensgebenden US amerikanischen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.