July 29, 1898-January 11, 1988
BY NORMAN F. RAMSEY
SOME SCIENTISTS MAKE their greatest contribution through their own personal research, while others are best remembered for their general wisdom and their influence on others. A few, including Rabi, excel in both respects. His own discoveries, which led to his Nobel Prize in 1944, are of great importance, including the invention of the molecular beam magnetic resonance method, which he and his associates used to measure magnetic moments and electric quadrupole moments of many atomic nuclei and to show the existence of a previously unsuspected tensor force between the neutron and the proton. But Rabi's influence extended far beyond his own laboratory. He was a creative scientist, an innovative statesman, and a philosopher. Proposals first made by Rabi have led to many of the most successful ventures in national and international cooperation in science.
Rabi was born on July 29, 1898, in Rymanow, a small town in Galicia, a province in the northeast of the Austro-Hungarian empire. His parents were Orthodox Jews who gave their son the name Israel Isaac Rabi. Soon after Rabi was born, his father moved to New York City and within a