Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Critchfield, Charles Louis

  • Helge Kragh
Reference work entry

Born Shreve, Ohio, USA, 7 June 1910

Died Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA, 12 February 1994

American theoretical physicist Charles Critchfield is known in the history of astrophysics for pioneering joint work with  Hans Bethe on stellar energy production. He did not follow up on this work or other aspects of nuclear astrophysics. Instead he shared his career between military research, mathematical physics, and theoretical studies in nuclear and particle physics.

Critchfield studied physics at the George Washington University, Washington, D.C., where his graduate supervisors were  George Gamowand Edward Teller. His thesis of 1939 was on strong couplings in particle physics, a subject on which he later published papers with Teller and Eugene Wigner. Between 1939 and 1942, he had positions at various institutions, including the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institute. There Critchfield got involved in defense-related work, and in April 1943 he joined the Manhattan...

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Selected References

  1. Gamow, George and Charles L. Critchfield. Theory of Atomic Nucleus and Nuclear Energy-Sources. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1949.Google Scholar
  2. Hufbauer, Karl. “Stellar Structure and Evolution, 1924–1939.” Journal for the History of Astronomy 37 (2006): 203–227.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Mark, Carson et al. “Charles Louis Critchfield.” Physics Today 48: 2 (1995): 70–71.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helge Kragh
    • 1
  1. 1.Aarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark