Menu ☰

Back to Top

Physics History Network

Over 1000 biographies of physicists and histories of institutions with information pertaining to their lives, careers, and research.

Tip: Search within this page by using Ctrl + F or ⌘ + F

Search Our Catalogs

Archives Books


Emilio Segré Visual Archives Digital Collections Oral Histories Archival Finding Aids Physics History Network Member Society Portals Ethical Cataloging Statement

Preservation and Support

Donating Materials Suggest a Book Purchase Saving Archival Collections Grants to Archives Documentation Projects History Newsletters

Center for History of Physics

Scholarship & Outreach

Main Navigation

HomeAboutTopic GuidesFeedback

Table of Contents


AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects




Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

Victor Francis Hess



June 24, 1883 – December 17, 1964

Authorized Form of Name

Hess, Victor Francis, 1883-1964

Additional Forms of Names

Hess, Victor Franz, 1883-1964



Victor F. Hess was an astrophysicist at Innsbruck University and Fordham University. He was awarded the 1936 Nobel Prize in Physics "for his discovery of cosmic radiation."

Important Dates

June 24, 1883Birth, Peggau (Austria).

1910Obtained PhD in Physics, Technische Universität Graz (Graz University of Technology), Graz (Austria).

1910 – 1920Assistant Researcher, Institute of Radium Research, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Austrian Academy of Sciences), Vienna (Austria).

1912Wrote Die Wärmeproduktion des Radiums.

1916Wrote the Measurement of Gamma Rays.

1918Wrote the Counting of Alpha Particles Emitted from Radium.

1919Awarded Lieben Prize.

1919Wrote Konvektionserscheinungen in ionisierten Gasen-Ionenwind.

1919 – 1920Assistant Professor, Universität Wien (University of Vienna), Vienna (Austria).

1920 – 1938Associate Professor of Experimental Physics (1920-1921); Association Professor (1923-1925); Professor (1925-1929); Dean of the Faculty (1929-1931); and Professor of Physics and Director Physics Institute (1937-1938), Technische Universität Graz (Graz Univerity of Technology), Graz (Austria).

1921 – 1923Director, U.S. Radium Corporation.

1921 – 1923Consulting Physicist, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines.

1926Wrote Elektrische Leitfähigkeit der Atmosphäre und ihre Ursachen.

1928Wrote Luftelektrizität.

1928Wrote Lebensdauer der Ionen in der Atmosphäre.

1929Wrote Schwankungen der Intensität in den kosmischen Strahlen.

1931Professor of Experimental Physics and Head of Institute for Radiation Research, Universität Innsbruck (University of Innsbruck), Innsbruck (Austria).

1931Awarded Ernst Abbe Prize, Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung Jena (Carl Zeiss Foundation).

1933Wrote Ionenbilanz der Atmosphäre.

1936Awarded Nobel Prize in Physics "for his discovery of cosmic radiation".

1944 – 1964Professor of Physics (1944-1958) and Professor Emeritus (1958-1964), Fordham University, Bronx (New York, N.Y.).

December 17, 1964Death, Mount Vernon (Westchester County, N.Y.).


Cosmic radiation astrophysicist.



Peggau (Austria)

Graduate Education

Graz (Austria)


Vienna (Austria)

Graz (Austria)

Innsbruck (Austria)

Bronx (New York, N.Y.)


Mount Vernon (Westchester County, N.Y.)



Cosmic background radiation.

Cosmic radiation.

Cosmic rays.




Hess, Elizabeth M. Hoencke


Hess, Maria Bertha Warner Breisky

Wife, died April 2, 1995.

Hess, Serafine Edle von Grossbauer-Waldstätt


Hess, Vinzens


Advisors & Collaborators

Exner, Franz Serafin, 1849-1926

PhD advisor at Universität Wien (University of Vienna).

Meyer, Stefan

PhD advisor at Universität Wien (University of Vienna).

Pfaundler, Leopold von, 1839-1920

PhD advisor at Technische Universität Graz (Graz University of Technology).


Anderson, Carl D. (Carl David), 1905-1991

Split the 1936 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Debye, Peter J. W. (Peter Josef William), 1884-1966

Frank, Philipp, 1884-1966

Kraus, John Daniel, 1910-2004

Swann, W. F. G. (William Francis Gray), 1884-1962


Major Positions

Fordham University. Department of Physics

Professor of Physics and Professor Emeritus.

Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften

Assistant Researcher, Institute of Radium Research.

Technische Universität Graz

Obtained PhD in Physics (1910). Associate Professor of Experimental Physics; Professor; Dean of the Faculty; Professor of Physics; and Director Physics Institute.

United States Radium Corporation


United States. Bureau of Mines

Consulting Physicist.

Universität Innsbruck

Professor of Experimental Physics and Head of Institute for Radium Research.

Universität Wien

Assistant Professor.


Archival Resources


Victor Hess autobiography, circa 1960.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA


Faculty records, 1841-1985.


Fordham University

Bronx, NY, USA

History of physics I [sound recording], 2011 May 1.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with John Kraus, 2002 August 20.

University Archives

Ohio State University

2700 Kenny Road, Columbus, OH 43210, USA

Oral history interview with Philipp Frank, 1962 July 16.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Peter J. W. Debye papers, 1901-1906 and 1918-1945.

Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften

Boltzmannstr. 14, 14195 Berlin, Germany

William Francis Gray Swann papers, 1903-1962.


American Philosophical Society

105 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA

Published Resources


Interplanetary flight: an introduction to astronautics/ by Arthur C. Clarke.

The electrical conductivity of the atmosphere and its causes, by Victor F. Hess ... translated from the German by L. W. Codd…


Victor F. Hess Nobel Prize Biography

Victor F. Hess Physics Today obituary.

Victor Francis Hess Encyclopaedia Britannica