Clifford G. Shull (1915-2001)

MIT Professor Emeritus Clifford G. Shull died on March 31, 2001 aged 85. He was co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1994, awarded for his pioneering work in neutron scattering. Prof. Shull started work in 1946 at what is now Oak Ridge Natl Lab. He teamed up with the late Earnest Wollan, and for the next nine years they explored ways of using the neutrons produced by nuclear reactors to probe the atomic structure of materials. In his opinion the most important problem he worked on at the time dealt with determining the positions of hydrogen atoms in materials.

As he refined the scattering technique, Prof. Shull studied the fundamental properties of the neutron itself. He also initiated the first neutron diffraction investigations of magnetic materials. This yielded information about the magnetic properties of materials at the atomic level, opening up an entirely new field of study. Shull’s awards include the Buckley Prize, which he received from the American Physical Soc. in 1956, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Science (1956) and to the Natl Academy of Sciences (1975). In 1993 he received the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ Gregori Aminoff prize for his 'development and application of neutron diffraction methods for studies of atomic and magnetic structure of solids'.

BCA-Crystallography News, June 2001