Hans Bethe was born in 1906 in Strasbourg, Germany. In 1928, he received his doctorate from the University of Munich, and was later appointed assistant professor at the University of Tübingen. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, he lost his job and emigrated, first to England and then to the United States, where he worked as a professor of nuclear physics at Cornell University.
In 1967, Hans Bethe was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics “for his contributions to the theory of nuclear reactions, and especially his discoveries concerning the energy production in stars”.
Bethe proposed a solution to a problem that had long troubled many astronomers: How is energy formed in the sun and stars? He suggested that there is a six stage process of nuclear fusion of various atoms in which enormous energy is emitted.
The products of this process are contradictory. On the one hand, there is solar light with the pleasant heat that is the source of our life. But on the other hand, we have the means to destroy us all – the hydrogen bomb which is based on the identical principle of fusion. Bethe actually worked on the development of the hydrogen bomb. However, after World War II, he became one of the most enthusiastic supporters of nuclear weapons control and fought against American armament plans.
George Wald was born in 1906 in New-York.
He received the 1967 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for his research on the pigments of the retina, that change their spatial form when exposed to light, thus triggering a receptor, which sends a nerve signal to the brain.
This research, together with his studies on the color receptors, gave us deep insight into the way we see.