Society: Arts and Science- July 8


Nobel Prizes are selected annually by Swedish and Norwegian committees in recognition of cultural or scientific advances. The 1895 will of Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel established the prizes.
Igor Yevgenyevich Tamm was born on this date in 1895. He was a Soviet Russian physicist who received the 1958 Nobel Prize in Physics, jointly with Pavel Alekseyevich Cherenkov and Ilya Frank, for their 1934 discovery of Cherenkov radiation.
Sin’ichirō Tomonaga died on this date in 1979. He was a Japanese physicist, influential in the development of quantum electrodynamics for which he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 along with Richard Feynman and Julian Schwinger. Born in Tokyo, he was the second child and eldest son of a Japanese philosopher, Tomonaga Sanjūrō. He entered the Kyoto Imperial University in 1926. Hideki Yukawa, also a Nobel Prize winner, was one of his classmates during undergraduate school. During graduate school at the same university, he worked for three years as a lab assistant. After graduate school, he joined Nishina’s group in Riken. In 1937, while working at Leipzig University, he collaborated with the Werner Heisenberg research group. Two years later, he returned to Japan due to the outbreak of the Second World War, but finished his doctoral degree in the study of nuclear materials with his thesis extending work done while in Leipzig. In Japan, he was appointed to a professorship at the Tokyo University of Education. During the war, he studied the magnetron, meson theory, and his “super-many-time” theory. In 1931, he became a researcher in Yoshio Nishina’s laboratory at RIKEN. In 1948, he and his students re-examined a 1939 paper by Sidney Dancoff that attempted but failed, to show that the infinite quantities that arise in QED can be cancelled with each other. Tomonaga applied his super-many-time theory and a relativistic method based on the non-relativistic method of Wolfgang Pauli and Fierz to greatly speed up and clarify the calculations. Then he and his students found that Dancoff had overlooked one term in the perturbation series. With this term, the theory gave finite results; thus Tomonaga discovered the renormalization method independently of Julian Schwinger and calculated physical quantities such as the Lamb shift at the same time. In the next year, he was invited by Robert Oppenheimer to work at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He studied a many-body problem on the collective oscillations of a quantum-mechanical system. In the following year, he returned to Japan and proposed the Tomonaga-Luttinger liquid. In 1965, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, with Julian Schwinger and Richard P. Feynman, for the study of QED, specifically for the discovery of the renormalization method. He died of throat cancer in Tokyo in 1979.He was awarded the Order of Culture in 1952 and the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun in 1976.
Robert Burns Woodward died on this date in 1979. He was an American organic chemist. He is considered by many to be one of the pre-eminent organic chemists of the twentieth century, having made many key contributions to the subject, especially in the synthesis of complex natural products and the determination of their molecular structure. He also worked closely with Roald Hoffmann on theoretical studies of chemical reactions. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1965.