Walther Bothe (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Bothe was awarded the Nobel Prize for his invention of the coincidence counting technique and for discoveries made using it, including the nature of cosmic rays and the fashion in which X rays interact with electrons. He was one of Germany’s leading atomic scientists and constructed their first cyclotron.
Walther Wilhelm Georg Bothe was born at Oranienburg, Germany, on January 8, 1891. He was the son of Fritz (a merchant) and Charlotte Bothe. Walther studied physics, chemistry, and mathematics at the University of Berlin. As a graduate student, he became one of the few ever to study under the famous Max Planck. After obtaining his doctorate in 1914, he began to work for Hans Geiger in the radioactivity laboratory of the Physikalische-Technische Reichsanstalt (physical-technical institute).
World War I soon intervened, and Bothe became a machine gunner in the German army. Captured by the Russians in 1915, he spent the next five years as a prisoner of war in Siberia. While there, he was able to continue his studies in mathematics and physics as well as learn Russian. He married a Russian woman, Barbara Below, in 1920 and returned to the Reichsanstalt in Berlin. He and his wife had two daughters.
While performing research at the Reichsanstalt, Bothe began a simultaneous teaching career at the University of Berlin. It was an exciting, if somewhat confusing, time for...
(The entire section is 1985 words.)
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