Glaser, Donald Arthur

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Glaser, Donald Arthur

Donald Arthur Glaser, 1926–2013, American physicist, b. Cleveland, Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 1950. He was a professor at the Univ. of Michigan from 1950 to 1959, when he joined the faculty at the Univ. of California, Berkeley. Glaser was awarded the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physics for his 1952 invention of the bubble chamber, which enabled scientists to examine the subatomic particles produced in high-energy accelerators. The bubble chamber provided a window into these minute particles by causing them to leave behind a trace of their presence and collisions in bubbles, which could be photographed. While groundbreaking at the time of its invention and a major improvement over the cloud chamber, the bubble chamber has since been replaced by other particle detector technologies. After winnning the Nobel, Glaser switched fields, turning to molecular biology and doing research on bacteria and viruses. In 1971 he was a founder of the Cetus Corp., one of the earliest biotechnology companies, which developed the cancer therapies interleukin-2 and interferon. During the 1980s Glaser turned to the neurobiology of vision, studying the human perception of motion and developing mathematical models of the process.

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