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Clifford Glenwood Shull



Robert D. Shull


In 1975 Clifford Glenwood Shull was elected to membership in the National Academy of Science. He had earlier, 1956, been admitted to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and would in 1994 be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. These and other honors were in recognition of his pioneering accomplishments in the development of neutron scattering techniques for atomic and magnetic structure determination. The Nobel Prize was awarded 50 years after the beginning of his discoveries and 15 years after he had retired as an emeritus professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As a consequence, in this case, the scientific community had ample time to see the ramifications of his achievements. In the interim period between 1946 and 1994, several other Nobel Prizes had been awarded to individuals for discoveries or predictions verified partially through the use of neutron scattering methods. The long overdue award, however, was not something that Cliff aspired to receiving. The achievements of past winners are so phenomenal, it s beyond one s scope to think of being in that class. I certainly had no feelings of delusion about joining such people, expressed Cliff to videographers for the Nobel Foundation just after announcement of his selection as one of the 1994 recipients.1 Cliff s humility was a personality trait that governed the way he approached science, and it was a characteristic which set him apart from others.2 One of his great sorrows was that Ernest Wollan, a colleague who pioneered the development of neutron scattering with him in the early years, was not alive in 1994 to share in the Nobel Prize with him.3
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


biography, Clifford G. Shull, neutron interferometry, neutron scattering, polarized neutron diffraction


Shull, R. (2010), Clifford Glenwood Shull, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, [online], (Accessed April 13, 2024)
Created March 31, 2010, Updated February 19, 2017