Today at Berkeley Lab

Throwback Thursday…Franz Kurie ‘Holds Up’ 60-Inch Cyclotron Magnet

Franz Kurie has a bit of fun in this 1938 photo, making it look like he’s single-handedly holding up one of the magnetic poles for the 60-inch cyclotron. Kurie joined the Lab after earning his Ph.D. at Yale, where he showed that the neutron was neither a dumb-bell-shaped combination of proton and electron, nor an onion-shaped combination of an electron embracing the proton. Consequently, and until the discovery of the quark structure of hadrons, the neutron was assumed to be an elementary particle. His Kurie plot is used in the study of beta decay. Kurie died in 1972.

In an interesting coincidence, Franz Kurie was the great uncle of current NERSC employee Kathy Kincaid. Her grandmother’s sister Dottie (on her dad’s side) was married to Kurie. She apparently also worked at the Lab. Here’s a photo of her from 1938.

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