Ukrainian Engineers: George Gamow

7 mins.

December 7, 2021

“Not being famous is not pretty”
It was a slogan of the club founded by George Gamow while still at university. A hand-written journal, “Scum of Physics”, was published under the editorship of the Ukrainian engineer. And later in the USA Gamow set up the “RNA-club” of twenty (by the number of amino acids known at that time) famous geneticists. A tie with an RNA pattern and an original clasp became a special feature of the chosen ones.
Combining humour and ambiguity, George Gamow gained worldwide recognition for his development of the Big Bang theory, i.e. the origin of the Universe, the calculation of the genetic code and the discovery of ways to transmit hereditary information. As a physicist he derived formulae that laid the foundation for theoretical substantiation of alpha decay of the atomic nucleus. He is the author of the theory of formation of chemical elements, according to which all matter originally consisted of neutrons.
George was born in Odessa during the First World War. School lessons were often cancelled due to hostilities. But that did not stop him from falling in love with physics and astronomy. At 30, he emigrated to the US, where he combined science and teaching.
Gamow’s name was given to the crater on the back side of the moon, a minor planet, and scientific terms (“Gamow-Teller’s Rule”, “Gamow-Berg’s Rule”).
The George Gamow-Tower Space Centre is located at the University of Colorado Denver

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