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James Franck

James Franck (1882-1964) was a German physicist and winner of the 1925 Nobel Prize for Physics.  

During the Manhattan Project, Franck served as Director of the Chemistry Division of the University of Chicago's Metallurgical Laboratory.  

He also served as chairman of the Committee on Political and Social Problems regarding the atomic bomb. The product of this committee was the Franck Report, released June 11, 1945, which recommended an open demonstration of the atomic bomb’s power in an uninhabited locality rather than dropping the bomb on Japanese cities.  

Franck was upset by the use of the bombs and after the war switched fields and studied photosynthesis.


Scientific Contributions

He won the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovery of the laws governing the impact of electrons on atoms, which confirmed the Bohr model of the atom.

When Germany invaded Denmark in 1940, Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy dissolved the gold Nobel Prizes of Max von Laue and Franck in aqua regia to prevent the Nazis from taking them. After the war, the Nobel Society recast Franck and von Laue's awards from the solution.

James Franck's Timeline

  • 1917 While serving as a volunteer in the German Army, seriously injured in a gas attack. Awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class.
  • 1920 to 1933 Professor of Experimental Physics and Director of the Second Institute for Experimental Physics at the University of Göttingen.
  • 1925 Received the Nobel Prize in Physics.

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