J. Hans D. Jensen (25 June 1907 – 11 February 1973) was a German nuclear physicist. He won the Nobel Prize in 1963.

Life and Career

He was born on 25 June 1907 in Hamburg, Germany. He studied physics, mathematics, physical chemistry, and philosophy at Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat Freiburg and the University of Hamburg from 1926 to 1931.

In 1932, he earned his doctorate from the University of Hamburg under Wilhelm Lenz. He also finished his Habilitation there in 1936.

He became a Privatdozent (unpaid lecturer) in 1937 at the University of Hamburg. In the same year, he started working with Paul Harteck, director of the university’s physical chemistry department and advisor to the HWA, Army Ordnance Office.

Jensen joined the Uranverein (Uranium Club) after military control was established over the German nuclear energy project in 1939. Jensen worked on double centrifuges for uranium isotope separation.

Jensen was named professor of theoretical physics at Hanover in 1941. He became an ordinarius professor at the same university in 1946.

He joined the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg in 1949 as an ordinarius professor. Later, he got emeritus praecox status. In the same year, the shell model of the nucleus of an atom was independently proposed by Jensen and Maria Goeppert-Mayer.

He co-authored ‘Uber Gaszentrifugen: Anreicherung der Xenon-, Krypton- und der Selen-Isotope nach dem Zentrifugenverfahren’ in 1950 with Konrad Beyerle, Wilhelm Groth, and Paul Harteck.

In 1951, he worked as a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin.

Jensen taught at the California Institute of Technology and Princeton’s Institute of Advanced Study in 1952.

In 1953 he was a visiting professor at the California Institute of Technology and the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Indiana.

Jensen wrote ‘Elementary Theory of Nuclear Shell Structure’ with Maria Goeppert-Mayer in 1955.

He was a visiting professor at Minnesota in 1956. He was a guest lecturer at La Jolla’s University of California in 1961.

J Hans D Jensen died on 11 February 1973, in Heidelberg, West Germany.


He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his shell nuclear model in 1963.

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