Reference Work Entry

The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 403-404

Gamow, George [Georgiy] (Antonovich)

  • Douglas Scott

BornOdessa, (Ukraine), 4 March 1904

DiedBoulder, Colorado, USA, 20 August 1968

Russian–American theoretical physicist George Gamow was among the very first to take seriously the idea of a hot, dense early Universe and to consider the processes that might occur in it, including nuclear reactions and (as a mentor to Ralph Alpher and Robert Herman) the production of thermal radiation that was eventually detected.

Gamow began his education in Odessa but moved to the University of Petrograd (later Leningrad and now Saint Petersburg), where his initial study of relativistic cosmology with Alexander Friedmann was frustrated by the latter's death. He received a Ph.D. in 1928 for work on aspects of quantum theory. Gamov held fellowships at Copenhagen (1928–1929, 1930–1931) and Cambridge (1929–1930) and a professorship at Leningrad (1931–1933) before leaving the Soviet Union for good. He held a professorship at George Washington University from 1934 to 1956 a ...

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