The American physicist Robert Hofstadter, b. New York City, Feb. 5, 1915, d. Nov. 17, 1990, was known for his fundamental work in high-energy physics. His experiments yielded the first information on the structure of protons and neutrons, for which he received the 1961 NOBEL PRIZE in physics. Using the linear accelerator at Stanford University, where he taught (1980-85), Hofstadter bombarded atomic nuclei with electrons having energies of 100-600 MeV. He found that protons and neutrons are composed of positively charged cores that are surrounded by a double cloud of positive mesons in the proton and a positive and negative shell in the neutron.
Hofstadter's son, Douglas Richard Hofstadter, b. New York City, Feb. 15, 1945, a cognitive scientist and educator, won fame with the Pulitzer Prize-winning Godel, Escher, Bach (1979), an examination of computers, language, music, and the way humans think. RAYMOND J. SEEGER
Last updated Mon Oct 7 14:29:00 EDT 1996