J. Hans D. Jensen

Johannes Hans Daniel Jensen ( born June 25, 1907 in Hamburg, † February 11, 1973 in Heidelberg; short also called Hans Jensen ) was a German physicist and Nobel laureate. He created as a theoretical physicist Maria Goeppert- Mayer, together with the shell model of the atomic nucleus on. Main site of action after 1949 was the University of Heidelberg.


Hans Jensen was born as the third child of the gardener Karl Friedrich Jensen and his wife Helene Auguste Adolphine ( born ohms) on June 25, 1907. He studied from 1926 at the University of Hamburg and the Albert -Ludwigs- University in Freiburg im Breisgau, physics, mathematics, physical chemistry and philosophy. After receiving his doctorate in physics at Wilhelm Lenz, he remained as a research assistant in Hamburg and his habilitation in 1936. He was appointed lecturer in 1937 and 1941 as an associate professor at the Technical University of Hanover. In 1949 he received from the Ruprecht -Karls- University of Heidelberg a reputation as a full professor, a position he held until his retirement in 1969. During this time he also had several visiting professorships in the United States, including the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton (1952 ), the University of Wisconsin (1951 ), the University of Minnesota (1956 ), Indiana University (1953), the California Institute of Technology (1953) and Berkeley (1952 ), the University of California at La Jolla ( 1961). He was with Otto Haxel co-editor of the Journal of Physics since 1955. He was buried in Partenstein ( Bavaria).

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Characteristic of the people Hans Jensen is the following anecdote:

"When Jensen was asked about the announcement of the Nobel award ceremony by the Prime Minister of the country in the morning, if he had a special request, he immediately said yes, you can a stateless student who was expelled from Iraq, obtained German citizenship. The student got it. "


The first works Jensen, et al his dissertation and habilitation, concerned with refinements of the statistical Thomas-Fermi model of the nuclear envelope, which brought significant improvements. End of the 1930s he began to deal with the atomic nucleus. Back in 1939, he speaks in a largely empirical analysis of the atomic nuclei, their binding energies and frequencies for the first time by a shell model, but without going beyond the mere terminology. This formulation, however, was very vague, since, firstly, the droplet model of Bohr (1936 ), the nuclear reactions described very well and seemed to have no sense of the notion of paths in the nucleus. The further development was delayed by the isolation of Germany in World War II, so that Jensen only in the late 1940s was intense to deal with the issue again. In 1948 he achieved through the adoption of a strong spin -orbit coupling the breakthrough to a declaration of the Magic Numbers (published by Otto Haxel, Hans E. Suess ), whose importance for the stability of atomic nuclei was not new - the same time came to USA Maria Goeppert -Mayer to the same conclusion after their Enrico Fermi proposed the possibility of a strong spin -orbit coupling. As a result, there was a lively exchange between Jensen and Goeppert- Mayer, which led to an almost complete understanding of the properties of the lighter atomic nuclei. 1955 published the two together in the book Elementary Theory of Nuclear Shell Structure a detailed statement of the understanding of atomic nuclei. For this performance, one half of the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded in 1963 the two equal parts, the other half went to Eugene Wigner.

In 1950 he described with Helmut Stein Wedel giant resonances with a two- fluid model of proton and neutron liquid.


  • Professor H.C. the University of Hamburg, 1947
  • Honorary Doctor of the University of Hannover in 1964
  • Nobel Prize in Physics, 1963, together with Maria Goeppert- Mayer
  • Honorary citizen of Fort Lauderdale, 1969
  • Designation of the Physics Institute building at the Philosophers' 16 (1912 Hugo Merton built ) to him (25 June 2007)
  • Jensen Visiting Professorship established as endowed professorship in 2008 at the University of Heidelberg
  • Full member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences since 1949
  • Corresponding Member of the Max Planck Society since 1960
  • Member of the Leopoldina since 1964