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 Lev Landau and the conception of neutron stars

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We review the history of neutron star physics in the 1930s that is related to L. Landau. According to recollections of Rosenfeld 1974, Proc. 16th Solvay Conference on Physics, p. 174, Landau improvised the concept of neutron stars in a discussion with Bohr and Rosenfeld just after the news of the discovery of the neutron reached Copenhagen in February 1932. We present arguments that the discussion took place in March 1931, before the discovery of the neutron, and that they in fact discussed the paper written by Landau in Zurich in February 1931 but not published until February 1932 Phys. Z. Sowjetunion, 1, 285. In his paper Landau mentioned the possible existence of dense stars which look like one giant nucleus; this can be regarded as an early theoretical prediction or anticipation of neutron stars, prior to the discovery of the neutron. The coincidence of the dates of the neutrons discovery and the papers publication has led to an erroneous association of the paper with the discovery of the neutron. In passing, we outline the contribution of Landau to the theory of white dwarfs and to the hypothesis of stars with neutron cores.

Autor: Dmitry G. Yakovlev; Pawel Haensel; Gordon Baym; Christopher J. Pethick

Fuente: https://archive.org/

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