Gilbert Jerome Perlow

Gilbert Jerome Perlow

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Gilbert "Gil" Jerome Perlow (10 February 1916 – 17 February 2007), was an American physicist famous for his work related to the Mössbauer effect
Mössbauer effect
The Mössbauer effect, or recoilless nuclear resonance fluorescence‎, is a physical phenomenon discovered by Rudolf Mössbauer in 1958. It involves the resonant and recoil-free emission and absorption of γ radiation by atomic nuclei bound in a solid...

, and an editor of the Journal of Applied Physics
Journal of Applied Physics
The Journal of Applied Physics is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published since 1931 by the American Institute of Physics. Its emphasis is on the understanding of the physics underpinning modern technology....

 and Applied Physics Letters
Applied Physics Letters
Applied Physics Letters is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that is published 52 times per year by the American Institute of Physics. Its focus is rapid publication and dissemination of new experimental and theoretical papers regarding applications of physics in all disciplines of science,...

.

Life


Perlow was born in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in 1916, and attended Townsend Harris Hall
Townsend Harris High School
Townsend Harris High School is a public magnet high school for the humanities in the borough of Queens in New York City. Students and alumni often refer to themselves as "Harrisites." Townsend Harris consistently ranks as among the top 100 High Schools in the United States. It currently operates as...

. At 16, he went to study medicine at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

. However, he later switched to physics, as he said his talents did not lie in medicine. He obtained his bachelor's degree in 1936 at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

. His graduate thesis On measurements of Lα satellite x rays was supervised by Floyd Richmyer. He obtained his Ph.D from University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 in 1940, where researched nuclear reactions of lithium-6. There he met his wife Mina Rea Jones, a chemist, when looking for assistance in building lithium targets.

After his Ph.D thesis, he left Chicago to work for the Naval Ordnance Laboratory
Naval Ordnance Laboratory
The Naval Ordnance Laboratory , now disestablished, formerly located in White Oak, Maryland was the site of considerable work that had practical impact upon world technology. The White Oak site of NOL has now been taken over by the Food and Drug Administration.-History:The U.S...

 and the US Naval Research Laboratory, on the detection of submarine using ultrasound
Ultrasound
Ultrasound is cyclic sound pressure with a frequency greater than the upper limit of human hearing. Ultrasound is thus not separated from "normal" sound based on differences in physical properties, only the fact that humans cannot hear it. Although this limit varies from person to person, it is...

s as part of the war effort
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. After the war, he used and modified captured V2 rockets to make measurements on atmospheric
Atmosphere
An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body. An atmosphere may be retained for a longer duration, if the gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low...

 cosmic rays, leading him to propose that most gamma rays in the atmosphere were not the cosmic rays themselves, but were rather due to Compton backscattering
Compton scattering
In physics, Compton scattering is a type of scattering that X-rays and gamma rays undergo in matter. The inelastic scattering of photons in matter results in a decrease in energy of an X-ray or gamma ray photon, called the Compton effect...

.

In 1952, he became a faculty member at University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is a public research university located in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, United States. It is the oldest and largest part of the University of Minnesota system and has the fourth-largest main campus student body in the United States, with 52,557...

. In 1954, he moved to Illinois to work at the Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory is the first science and engineering research national laboratory in the United States, receiving this designation on July 1, 1946. It is the largest national laboratory by size and scope in the Midwest...

, until he retired in 1981. In 1970, he became editor of the Journal of Applied Physics
Journal of Applied Physics
The Journal of Applied Physics is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published since 1931 by the American Institute of Physics. Its emphasis is on the understanding of the physics underpinning modern technology....

 and Applied Physics Letters
Applied Physics Letters
Applied Physics Letters is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that is published 52 times per year by the American Institute of Physics. Its focus is rapid publication and dissemination of new experimental and theoretical papers regarding applications of physics in all disciplines of science,...

.

In the words of John Schiffer and Charles Johnson, Perlow was a "...witty and cultured man, he enjoyed reading, sketching, listening to music, and sailing his yacht on Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

."

Work


Other than his work on cosmic ray
Cosmic ray
Cosmic rays are energetic charged subatomic particles, originating from outer space. They may produce secondary particles that penetrate the Earth's atmosphere and surface. The term ray is historical as cosmic rays were thought to be electromagnetic radiation...

s, and on the Mössbauer effect
Mössbauer effect
The Mössbauer effect, or recoilless nuclear resonance fluorescence‎, is a physical phenomenon discovered by Rudolf Mössbauer in 1958. It involves the resonant and recoil-free emission and absorption of γ radiation by atomic nuclei bound in a solid...

, Perlow worked on the hyperfine structure of iron-57 and other properties of iron atoms, such as their internal magnetic field.