Physicist Wiescher receives American Physical Society award

by William G. Gilroy

Michael C.F. Wiescher, Frank M. Freimann Professor of Physics at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded the Hans A. Bethe Prize by the American Physical Society. The prize recognizes outstanding work in theory, experiment or observation in the areas of astrophysics, nuclear physics or closely related fields.p. Wiescher’s award citation noted his “contributions to the experimental foundation of nuclear astrophysics, especially the delineation of the processes involved in explosive hydrogen burning in novae and x-ray bursters” and credited him with “providing an intellectual bridge between experimental nuclear astrophysicists and their theoretical colleagues.”p. Wiescher is researching the study of nuclear reactions important to the understanding of energy production and the origin of the elements in stars and in explosive stellar environments. Currently, his work focuses on understanding nucleosynthesis in explosive hydrogen-burning processes that occur in novae, supernovae and accreting neutron stars.p. Wiescher joined the Notre Dame faculty as an assistant professor in 1986 and was promoted to associate professor and full professor in 1990 and 1993, respectively.p. The Bethe Prize is named in honor of the German-born American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967 for his work in solar and stellar energy. Most noted for his theories on atomic properties, Bethe was the director of the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory and participated at the most senior level in the World War II Manhattan Project that produced the first atomic weapons. During the 1980s and ’90s he campaigned for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.p.

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