About 1947, Maria Mayer had started to work on the nuclear shell model, and my thesis work was on the application of the model to electromagnetic transitions. Now when she developed the shell model, it was actually slightly controversial. Also, she did not have a regular position at the U. Chicago. Only after her fame had spread worldwide, did the University offer her a regular position. But by then she and Joe had decided to leave for the UC San Diego. Now I have to admit that as a student, I did not really know about her difficulties. Also, I was not aware,until much later, of the controversial aspects of the shell model. I just accepted the single particle model and applied it. Her contribution to the Nuclear Shell Model can be roughly divided into three parts: 1. Discovery of the Magic Numbers For more on the discovery of magic numbers in nuclei 2. Explanation of the Magic Numbers (Independently done by Jensen). This is what Mayer and Jensen shared the Nobel prize for, in 1963. For more on explanation of the magic numbers 3. Pairing For more on nuclear pairing

Go to next section(Atom)

Return to Outline