Date of Birth: 10/14/1914
Place of birth: Washington
Citizenship: United States
Raymond Davis was born in the family of photographer Raymond Davis Sr. and his wife Ida Rogers Younger. Father Davis worked in the National Bureau of Standards, and it later became the head of the department of photographic equipment. Influenced by his father, and despite the fact that he had not finished the last school classes, Davis became interested in childhood experiments and designing equipment.
After high school, he received in 1938 a degree in Chemical University of Maryland. After years of work in the company Dow Chemical in Midland, he returned to the University of Maryland. In 1942 he defended his thesis on physical chemistry at Yale University, and joined the army as a reservist. The following years he spent in Utah, observing experiments with chemical weapons. After demobilization from the army in 1945, Davis worked at Monsanto Chemical Ohio on radiochemical techniques. In the spring of 1948 he started working at the Brookhaven National laboraboriyu (BNL), founded with the purpose of civilian use of nuclear energy methods. There he met his wife Anna Torrey, who worked in biologicheskomotdelenii BNL. The wedding took place in 1948. They had five children later - Andrew Martha Kumler Nancy Clem, Roger and Alan. In 1984, Davis left the BNL and became a professor at the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Maryland.
The BNL Davis was not given any particular task. He could choose a field of research and decided to go into the physics of neutrinos. While neutrinos existed only as theoretical postulates. Experimental work on this subject was not. So it was an ideal area in which he could apply his knowledge in radiochemistry.
In his first experiment, Davis embodied the idea of ??Bruno Pontecorvo registration neutrinos produced at the nuclear reactor, by reaction 37Cl + & # 957; & # 8594; 37Ar + e. To this end, he built next to the research reactor in BNL container containing 3.78 m & # 179; methane tetrachloride, and in 1955 the capacity of large reactor at Savannah River Site. Both experiments showed a negative result. Later it turned out that these experiments refuted the hypothesis adopted at the time of neutrinos and antineutrinos are identical. That is why the experiment showed results - neutrinos are produced in reactors and experimental setup was sensitive to the antineutrino. It should be noted that Davis in their experiments reached 20 times higher sensitivity than the one that was reached in 1956 by Frederick Reines experiments to detect neutrinos, for which he received in 1995 Nobel Prize in physics.
At the end of the experiments at the Savannah River Site, he addressed the problem of solar neutrinos. This theme he worked for quite some time. For this experiment, he built a plant in the Barberton mine-Laymstona near Akron, Ohio. In the 1960s, Davis Homesteyk mine in Lead in South Dakota placed at a depth of 1400 m with a capacity of 378 m & # 179.; perchlorethylene. The first measurements were inconclusive. However, Davis perfected the technique until when in 1970 he was able for the first time to register solar neutrinos. The measured neutrino flux was approximately three times less than that postulated by John Bahcall. In subsequent years, the problem of solar neutrinos do theorists and experimentalists, and only after the discovery of neutrino oscillations, it was solved.
Davis, his whole life was a fighter, a loner, who through their work laid the foundations of modern neutrino physics. He managed not only at the expense of results, as due to the uncompromising struggle for that measure "immeasurable." Due to justify their methods of measurement reliability Davis was able to convince the scientific community of the existence of events occurring at a frequency of once a month. Only after his experiments scientists have verified the feasibility of such experiments and began to develop such facilities as SNO, Gallex and Super-Kamiokande. Thus, the doors were open to "new" field of physics.
For its achievements Davis was awarded in 2002 (jointly with Masatoshi Koshiba) Nobel Prize in Physics. By the time Davis was already 88 years old and he was the oldest person ever to win the Nobel Prize.