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Siegfried Flügge (1912-1997)

Born in Dresden, Flügge received his doctorate at the University of Göttingen under the direction of Max Born. Flügge later worked with Erwin Madelung at Frankfurt and Werner Heisenberg at Leipzig. In 1937, Flügge became the theorist-in-residence at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, then under the directorship of Otto Hahn. Flügge's 1939 technical paper "Kann der Energieinhalt der Atomkerne technisch nutzbar gemacht werden?" ("Can the energy of atomic nucleus be harnessed technically?") the in Die Naturwissenschaft suggests that nuclear weapons are a possible application for atomic research, and Paul Lawrence Rose says that Flügge appears to have thought that uranium could explode naturally. His 1939 popularization, "Die Ausnutzung der Atomenergie" ("The Utilization of Atomic Energy"), of his scientific work, which was published in the Deutsche Allegemeine Zeitung, is thought to have made Germany's interest in atomic weapons known to the rest of the world. During the war, he taught at Berlin and at Königsberg, and in 1945, he returned to his alma mater as a lecturer. He later taught at Marburg and Freiburg. In addition to teaching physics, he lectured on the history of science. His Practical Quantum Mechanics (1947) has been translated widely, and the 54-volume Encyclopedia of Physics, which he edited for Springer-Verlag from 1956-84, remains an impressive work.

Karen Rae Keck

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