Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky

National Medal of Science

Physical Sciences

For classic experiments probing the elementary particles of matter and for contributions to advancing the means of experimentation in this challenging field.

For classic experiments probing the elementary particles of matter and for contributions to advancing the means of experimentation in this challenging field.

VIEW STATISTICS +

Birth
April 24, 1919
Age Awarded
50
Country of Birth
Germany
Key Contributions
Experiments In Elementary Particles
Awarded by
Richard Milhous Nixon
Education
California Institute of Technology
Princeton University
Areas of Impact
Theory & Foundations
Affiliations
Stanford University
Other Prizes
Enrico Fermi Award
A

As a child, Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky – “Pief” for short – and his brother built toys.

Their many creations, small and intricate, included an “automated vending machine to sell candy and cigarettes at exorbitant prices to their father’s art history students at their seminars.”

In his later years, the German born scientist turned his attention to something so tiny it can’t be seen by the naked eye.

In the 1940s, Pief studied the pion, a subatomic particle of the proton, successfully isolating a variant called the “neutral pi meson.”

For more than 20 years, Panofsky served as founding director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in California, overseeing research using the center’s two-mile-long electron accelerator.

Panofsky’s studies – specifically his work with the Manhattan Project, America’s secret efforts to build an atomic weapon – greatly influenced his commitment to scientific ethics and advocacy for worldwide information-sharing and cooperation among researchers.

...