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Luis Walter Alvarez

Luis Walter Alvarez

Male 1911 - 1988  (77 years)  Submit Photo / DocumentSubmit Photo / Document


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  • Name Luis Walter Alvarez 
    Born 13 Jun 1911  San Francisco, San Francisco, California Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Occupation 1936 
    Louis was a Physicist. He worked on the Manhattan Project and a number of different RADAR systems. In 1968 he earned the Nobel Prize for particle Physics. He was never one to limit his interests. He used the detection of cosmic rays to search the Egyptian pyramids for hidden rooms and performed analysis of the Zapruder film that captured the assassination of President Kennedy.  
    Luis Alvarez Physics.
    Luis Alvarez Physics.
    Luis Alvarez Physics.
    Military Service 1945  U.S. Army Air Corps, WWII Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Alvarez worked on the Manhattan project that developed the nuclear bomb He was given the rank of Lieutenant Colonel so that he could fly aboard military air craft to make scientific observations. 
    The Great Artiste
    The Great Artiste
    Luis W. Alvarez observed the Trinity nuclear test from a B-29 Superfortress. A propeller-driven heavy bomber. Louis is seen here standing in front of the B-29 "The Great Artiste". Flying in The Great Artiste in formation with the Enola Gay, Alvarez measured the blast effect of the Little Boy bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima.
    Biographical Information 1980 
    Working with his son, William, Louis changed the world of paleontology. They discovered that the layer of sediment located all over the world, that separates the Cretaceous period of Earth's history, from the Paleogene period contained a very high concentration of Iridium. Iridium is an element that is quite rare on Earth but common in asteroids. He published the "Alvarez hypothesis" suggesting that the end of the dinosaurs resulted from a massive asteroid impact.  
    Louis and Walter Alvarez.
    Louis and Walter Alvarez.
    Louis and Walter Alvarez examine the K-T boundary. (Now referred to as the K-Pg boundary) By any name the boundary is a layer of sediment below which is is possible to find dinosaur fossils but, after the sediment was deposited the dinosaurs were gone.
    Chicxulub crater.
    Chicxulub crater.
    In March 2010, an international panel of scientists endorsed the Alvarez hypothesis. They specified that the Chicxulub crater discovered in 1978 was the specific event that caused the extinction.

    After some 66 million years the 93 mile wide crater is no longer visible. However gravitational anomalies and geological evidence prove it's existence. the energy release of the Chicxulub impact was approximately 100 million megatons. The largest bomb ever tested yielded about 50 megatons. It is an event that radically reshaped life on Earth.
    Bone Wars
    Bone Wars (18)
    The "Bone Wars" of the 1870's and other significant paleontologist in this tree.
    Died 1 Sep 1988  Berkeley, Alameda, California Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Headstones Submit Headstone Photo Submit Headstone Photo 
    Person ID I57549  Nagel
    Last Modified 14 Mar 2021 

    Father Walter Clement Alvarez,   b. 22 Jul 1884, San Francisco, San Francisco, California Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Jun 1978, San Francisco, San Francisco, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 93 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Mother Harriet Skidmore Smyth,   b. 19 Jan 1885, Fuzhou, Fuzhou Shixiaqu, Fuzhou, Fujian, China Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Jul 1973, Chicago, Cook, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 88 years) 
    Relationship Birth 
    Married 22 Feb 1907  Berkeley, Alameda, California Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F16955  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Geraldine Smithwick,   b. 1913 
    Children 
     1. Walter Alvarez  [Birth]
    Last Modified 12 Mar 2021 
    Family ID F16956  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart