MAX DELBRÜCK (1906–1981)
Max Delbrück shared (with Alfred Hershey and Salvador Luria) the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on bacteriophages, a class of viruses that infect bacteria.
He soon teamed up with E. L. Ellis to do phage research, seeing the bacteriophage as the ideal organism through which to apply the quantitative methods of physics to the study of genes. In 1939, he joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University, where he stayed for seven years. He returned to Caltech as a professor of biology in 1947, and remained for the rest of his career.
In the early 1950s, Delbrück’s research interests shifted yet again, from molecular genetics to sensory physiology.
LEO JAMES RAINWATER (1917–1986)
Leo Rainwater was a corecipient (with A. N. Bohr and Ben Mottelson) of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1975. His research contributed to the determination that certain atoms have asymmetrical nuclei.
In 1949, he began developing his theory that, contrary to what was then believed, not all atomic nuclei are spherical. His ideas were later tested and confirmed by Bohr’s and Mottelson’s experiments.
Rainwater also contributed to the scientific understanding of x-rays and participated in Atomic Energy Commission and naval research projects. He joined the physics faculty at Columbia in 1952, where he was named Pupin Professor of Physics in 1982.
California Institute of Technology