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Polykarp Kusch MS '33 PHYSICS, PHD '36 PHYSICS

Nobel Prize Winner

From: http://cuhistory3057.tripod.com/polykarpkusch/

Polykarp Kusch was born the son of a clergyman in Blankenburg, Germany, on January 26, 1911.  He moved to the United States with his family only one year after his birth and later received his citizenship.  Kusch attended grade school and high school in the Midwest, where he discovered that his goal was to pursue a career in the field of chemistry.  He began his collegiate education at the Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, Ohio, but soon realized that chemistry was not his specialty.  His interest shifted to physics, an area in which he excelled.  In 1931 he received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics, and then moved on to the University of Illinois for his graduate study work. In 1933 Kusch completed his Masters of Science degree, and was awarded his Ph. D. in 1936.  
Kusch made valuable connections during his studies.  He worked on problems in the field of optical molecular spectroscopy under the guidance of Professor F. Wheeler Loomis at the University of Illinois, and he worked with Professor John T. Tate at the University of Minnesota in the field of mass spectroscopy from 1936 to 1937.
After leaving  Minnesota, Kusch became associated with the Department of Physics at Columbia University in 1937.  Kusch's most famous partner at Columbia was Professor I. I. Rabi, whom Kusch assisted with research on atomic, molecular, and nuclear properties and phenomena by the method of molecular beams.  Except for interruptions created by World War II, Kusch worked with the department until he became a Professor of Physics in 1949.  During the years he spent as a professor, he contributed to the research and development of microwave generators at the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, the Bell Telephone Laboratories, and of course, Columbia University's research facilities.  His experience at Columbia was considered the pivotal point in his career, as the people he worked with gave him not only knowledge of microwave methods, but also knowledge of the application of the special techniques of vacuum tube technology to help solve a large range of problems in experimental physics.

Kusch's most lauded award came in 1955, when he shared the Nobel Prize in physics with Willis Lamb for his precise determination of the magnetic moment of the electron. In 1975, he won the Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Illinois Alumni Association for his life’s work, success and international distinction in his field.

In 1975, he won the Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Illinois Alumni Association.

Polykarp Kusch died in 1993 at the age of 82.

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