Hans Georg Dehmelt (born September 9, 1922 in Görlitz, Germany) is an American physicist, who co-developed the ion trap. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1989 for this work on ion traps, together with Wolfgang Paul.

At the age of ten he was enrolled in the Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster, a latin school in Berlin, and was admitted on a scholarship. After graduating in 1940, he volunteered for service in the German army. In 1943 the army ordered him to attend the University of Breslau to study physics. He spent a year in study before returning to the army service and was captured during the Battle of the Bulge.

In 1946 he was released from an American prisoner of war camp and returned to study at the University of Gottingen. He supported himself during this time by repairing and bartering old, pre-war radio sets. He completed his master's thesis in 1948, and received his Ph.D. in 1950 from the University of Gottingen. He was then invited to the Duke University as a postdoctoral associate, emigrating in 1952.

In 1955 he became an assistant professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. He became an associate professor in 1958 and a full professor in 1961 at the same institution. He retired from the university on October, 2002.

He was married to Irmgard Lassow, now deceased, and the couple had a son Gerd. Later Dr. Dehmelt married Diana Dundore, a practising physician.

Awards and honors

  • Rumford Prize in 1985.
  • Nobel Prize in Physics in 1989.
  • National Medal of Science in 1995.



Nobel prize press release

University of Washington home page

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