Hess , Victor Francis
(1883–1964) Austrian–American physicist
Hess, the son of a forester, was born at Waldstein in Austria and educated at the University of Graz where he obtained his doctorate in 1906. He worked at the Institute for Radium Research, Vienna, from 1910 to 1920 and then took up an appointment at the University of Graz where he became professor in 1925. In 1931 he set up a cosmic-ray observatory near Innsbruck but in 1938 he was dismissed from all his official positions as he was a Roman Catholic. Leaving Nazi Austria, he emigrated to America where he served as professor of physics at Fordham University, New York, from 1938 to 1956.
In 1911–12 Hess made the fundamental discovery of cosmic rays, as they were later called by Robert Millikan in 1925. For this work he shared the Nobel Prize for physics with Carl Andersonin 1936. The work stemmed from an attempt to explain why gases are always slightly ionized; thus a gold-leaf electroscope, however well insulated it might be, will discharge itself over a period of time. Radiation was clearly coming from somewhere and the most likely source was the Earth itself. To test this, attempts were made to see if the rate of discharge decreased with altitude. But both T. Wulf, who took an electroscope to the top of the Eiffel Tower in 1910, and A. Gockel, who took one up in a balloon in 1912, failed to obtain any clear results.
However when Hess ascended in a balloon to a height of 16,000 feet (4880m) he found that although the electroscope's rate of discharge decreased initially up to about 2000 feet (610m), thereafter it increased considerably, being four times faster at 16,000 feet than at sea level. He concluded that his results were best explained by the assumption that a radiation of very great penetrating power enters our atmosphere from above.
He was able to eliminate the Sun as the sole cause for he found that the effect was produced both by day and at night. Further, in 1912, he made a balloon ascent during a total eclipse of the Sun and found that during the period when the Sun was completely obscured there was no significant effect on the rate of discharge. Hess however failed to convince everyone that cosmic rays came from outside the Earth's atmosphere as it could still be argued that the source of the radiation was such atmospheric disturbances as thunderstorms. It was left to Millikan in 1925 finally to refute this objection.

Scientists. . 2011.

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  • Hess, Victor Francis — born June 24, 1883, Waldstein, Styria, Austria died Dec. 17, 1964, Mount Vernon, N.Y., U.S. Austrian born U.S. physicist. He received his doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1906. His research dealt chiefly with radioactivity and… …   Universalium

  • Hess, Victor Francis — (24 jun. 1883, Waldstein, Styria, Austria–17 dic. 1964, Mount Vernon, N.Y., EE.UU.). Físico estadounidense de origen austríaco. Recibió su doctorado de la Universidad de Viena en 1906. Investigó sobre todo la radiactividad y la electricidad… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Victor Francis Hess — Victor Franz Hess Pour les articles homonymes, voir Hess. Victor Franz Hess Victor Franz Hess (24 juin 1883 – 17 décembre  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Victor Francis Hess — Infobox Scientist name = Victor Francis Hess image width = 170px caption = Victor Francis Hess birth date = birth date|1883|6|24 birth place = Waldstein Castle, near Peggau, Austria death date = death date and age|1964|12|17|1883|6|24 death place …   Wikipedia

  • Hess — Hess, Germain Henri Hess, Rudolf Hess, Victor Franz Hess, Walter Rudolph * * * (as used in expressions) Hess, (Walter Richard) Rudolf Hess, Victor Francis Hess, Walter Rudolf …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Francis — Francis. Asteroide nº. 2050 de la serie (1974 KA), descubierto el 28 de mayo de 1974 por Eleanor Francis Helin desde Monte Palomar. La descubridora lo nombró en honor de sus padres Fred y Kay Francis. Lista de asteroides * * * Francis, turbina *… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Víctor — (del lat. «victor», vencedor) m. e interj. Vítor. * * * víctor. (Del lat. victor, vencedor). interj. vítor. U. t. c. s. * * * Víctor, san ► Nombre de varios papas y antipapas. ► Víctor I, san (m. 199) Pontífice romano en 189 199. Combatió el… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Hess — /hes/, n. 1. Dame Myra, 1890 1965, English pianist. 2. Victor Francis, 1883 1964, U.S. physicist, born in Austria: Nobel prize 1936. 3. Walter Rudolf, 1881 1973, Swiss physiologist: Nobel prize for medicine 1949. 4. (Walther Richard) Rudolf /vahl …   Universalium

  • Francis — /fran sis/, n. a male given name: from an Old French word meaning Frenchman. * * * (as used in expressions) Abbott George Francis Adams Charles Francis Bacon Francis Viscount St. Albans Bacon Francis Bayard Thomas Francis Beaumont Francis Bebey… …   Universalium

  • victor — /vik teuhr/, n. 1. a person who has overcome or defeated an adversary; conqueror. 2. a winner in any struggle or contest. 3. a word used in communications to represent the letter V. [1300 50; ME < L, equiv. to vic , var. s. of vincere to conquer… …   Universalium

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