Hess, Viktor Franz
Viktor Franz Hess. Photo.
Hess, Viktor Franz, b. Schloss Waldstein (Styria), June 24, 1883, d. Mount Vernon near New York (USA), Dec. 17, 1964, physicist, Nobel Prize Laureate for Physics 1936. 1908-1920 lecturer at the University of Veterinary Medicine and research and teaching assistant at the Radium Research Institute in Vienna; there he started to study the absorption of radium gamma rays in the air. During balloon trips in 1911/1912 detected the so-called cosmic or ultra rays, continued his research in Graz (1920/1921, 1923-1931, 1937/1938) and Innsbruck (1931-1937). 1921-1923 founded and headed a research laboratory in America, in 1931 built a research centre on Hafelekar mountain near Innsbruck to observe cosmic radiation. 1938 had to leave Austria; taught at the Fordham University in New York. Developed an instrument to measure gamma rays and studied the problems of radiation protection (radium burns on his hand). H. provided principles for all radiation and nuclear research which followed. 1936 awarded the Nobel Prize for physics for the discovery of and research into cosmic radiation.
Publications: Die elektrische Leitfähigkeit der Atmosphäre und ihre Ursachen, 1926; Die Weltraumstrahlung und ihre biologischen Wirkungen, 1940; Persönliche Erinnerungen, 1950.
Literature: Almanach der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 116, 1966; NDB.