William Alfred Fowler (9 August 1911 – 14 March 1995) was an American nuclear physicist and astrophysicist, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his contributions to the theory of the nuclear reactions that take place in stars.
Life and Career
He was born on 9 August 1911, in Pittsburgh. He went to Ohio State University to study ceramic engineering. His passion for physics made him switch to engineering physics. In 1933, he graduated from Ohio State University, then went to the California Institute of Technology for his postgraduate studies. In 1936, he got his doctorate in nuclear physics.
In 1939, William Alfred Fowler became an assistant professor at the California Institute of Technology after earning his doctorate. During that time, he studied the nuclear reactions of protons of carbon and nitrogen isotopes.
Fowler worked on several important projects during his career, including the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bomb.
He also made significant contributions to our understanding of the nuclear reactions that power stars, such as the fusion of hydrogen into helium, which is the primary source of energy for our sun.
He was a professor at the California Institute of Technology for many years, and he mentored many of the leading physicists and astrophysicists of the next generation.
He died on 14 March 1995, due to kidney failure in Pasadena, California.
He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 with Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, for his contributions to the theory of the nuclear reactions that take place in stars.
He received numerous other honors and awards for his work, including the National Medal of Science in 1974, and the Barnard Medal in 1965.