The Nobel Foundation
Robert Hofstadter

Florida Atlantic University Libraries

American Jewish Recipients of the Nobel Prize

A Judaica Collection Exhibit


Robert Hofstadter: Nobel Prize

in Physics Recipient-1961
by Seymour “Sy” Brody

Robert Hofstadter is an America Jewish recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics. 1961. He received one-half of the prize for his pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his thereby achieved discoveries concerning the structure of nucleons.

Robert Hofstadter was born on February 5, 1915, in New York City, New York. His parents were Henrietta Koenigsberg and Louis Hofstadter, who owned a cigar store.

He attended the New York City elementary and high schools. He attended the College of the City of New York and received B.S. degree magna cum laude, 1935, and was awarded the coveted Kenyon Prize in Mathematics and Physics.
The General Electric Corporation awarded him the Charles A. Coffin Foundation Fellowship, which enabled him to attend Princeton. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in 1938.

During World War II, he worked for the National Bureau of Standards and at the Norden Laboratory Corporation. After the war, he became an Assistant Professor of Physics at Princeton University. He was able to do research on crystal conduction counters.

When Princeton didn’t offer Hofstadter a promotion to Associate Professor, in 1950, he accepted an offer from Stanford University for that position. He was at Stanford University when he received the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Robert and Nancy Givan were married and they had three children, a son, Douglass, who received a Ph.D. in physics, in 1975, from the University of Oregon, and two daughters, Laura and Mary. The Hofstadters bought a 700- acre ranch in California where they raised horses and cattle and 40 acres of olive trees.

Robert Hofstadter has received many awards and honors:
● Elected to the national Academy of Sciences, 1958
● California Scientist of the Year, 1959
● Roentgen Medal, 1985
● U.S. Medal of Science, 1986
● Prize of the Cultural Foundation of Fiuggi, Italy


For additional information, contact
Special Collections and Archives
S.E. Wimberly Library


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Last updated 05 November 2007