Jack Steinberger, Nobel Prize winner in physics, dies at the age of 99

Normally, an experiment with the Brookhaven accelerator – the largest in the world at the time – was completed in a few hours. The neutrino experiment took 800 hours over eight months, a measure of the importance attached to the project. A year after its completion, the European Nuclear Research Council, known as CERN, confirmed the results.

Hans Jakob Steinberger was born on May 25, 1921 in Bad Kissingen in Bavaria, Germany, as one of three sons of Ludwig and Berta Steinberger. His father was a cantor and teacher of religion for the small Jewish community of the town; his educated mother supplemented the family income by teaching English and French.

With the rise of the Nazis and the enactment of laws prohibiting Jewish children from attending public schools and seeking higher education, his parents caused him and his older brother to go to the United States with the help of the American Jewish charities, which offered to house 300 German refugee children.

Soon, in a biographical sketch for the Nobel Foundation, Dr. Steinberger wrote, “We were on the SS Washington, heading to New York, Christmas 1934.”

The brothers were placed in separate but nearby foster homes in the Chicago area. Jack took up residence in the home of a wealthy grain merchant named Barnett Faroll, who, several years later, had the boys’ parents and younger brother join them in Chicago to save them from the Holocaust, Dr. Steinberger.

The family soon began operating a small deli in Chicago.

After graduating from New Trier Township High School in the suburbs of Winnetka, Illinois, Dr. Steinberger won a fellowship to the Armor Institute of Technology (now the Illinois Institute of Technology), where he studied chemical engineering.

The scholarship expired after two years, and he found a job washing bottles in a chemical lab for $ 18 a week. He studied chemistry in the evenings at the University of Chicago and worked in the family store on weekends. The university later awarded him a scholarship that would allow him to quit his job. He graduated in 1942 with a bachelor’s degree in physics.