Nobel laureate Robert Hofstadter, 75, died November 17 at his home in Stanford, Calif., after a long bout with heart disease. Hofstadter's early investigations, in which he measured the size of the neutron and proton in the nuclei of atoms, won him the Nobel Prize in physics in 1961. Hofstadter was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Stanford Linear Accelerator. He also made substantial contributions to gamma ray spectroscopy, leading to the use of radioactive tracers to locate tumors and other disorders. Hofstadter earned his B.S. in 1935 at the City College of New York, and earned his Ph.D. in physics in 1938 at Princeton University. During World War II, following postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania, he worked as a physicist at the National Bureau of Standards, where he helped develop the proximity fuse, an antiaircraft weapon.
In 1950, Hofstadter joined the faculty of Stanford University, where he taught until 1985, when he retired as Max H. Stein Professor Emeritus of Physics. He directed Stanford's High Energy Physics Laboratory from 1967 to 1974. Hofstadter was known for his teaching as well as his research. He taught courses ranging from the introductory to the graduate level, including a nonmathematical physics course known as "Physics for Poets."