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 Fritz Zwicky

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Fritz Zwicky

Birth
Varna, Bulgaria
Death
8 Feb 1974 (aged 75)
Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial
Mollis, Glarus, Glarus, Switzerland
Memorial ID
70298529 View Source

Fritz Zwicky was born in Varna, Bulgaria to a Swiss father. His father, Fridolin Zwicky (b. 1868), was a prominent industrialist in the Bulgarian city and also served as ambassador of Norway in Varna (1908–1933). The Zwicky House in Varna was designed and built by Fridolin Zwicky. Fritz's mother, Franziska Vrček (b. 1871), was an ethnic Czech of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Fritz was the oldest of the Zwicky family's three children: he had a younger brother named Rudolf and a sister called Leoni. Fritz's mother died in Varna in 1927 and his father Fridolin remained in Bulgaria until 1945, when he returned to Switzerland. His sister Leoni married to a Bulgarian from Varna and spent her entire life in the city.
In 1904, at the age of six, Fritz was sent to his grandparents in Glarus, Switzerland, "the Zwicky's ancestral Swiss canton, to study commerce." His interests shifted to math and physics and he received an advanced education in mathematics and experimental physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, located in Zürich, Switzerland. In 1925, he emigrated to the United States to work with Robert Millikan at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) after receiving the "international fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation."
He was responsible for positing numerous cosmological theories that have a profound impact on understanding of our universe today. He was appointed Professor of Astronomy at Caltech in 1942 and also worked as a research director/consultant for Aerojet Engineering Corporation (1943–1961) and staff member of Mount Wilson Observatory and Palomar Observatory for most of his career. He developed some of the earliest jet engines and holds over 50 patents, many in jet propulsion, and is the inventor of the Underwater Jet (TIME March 14, 1949), the Two Piece Jet Thrust Motor and Inverted Hydro Pulse.
In April 1932, Fritz Zwicky married Dorothy Vernon Gates, the daughter of a prominent local family and Senator Egbert Gates. Her money was instrumental in the funding of the Palomar Observatory during the Great Depression. Nicholas Roosevelt, cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt, was his brother-in-law by marriage to Tirzah Gates. Zwicky and Dorothy divorced amicably in 1941. In 1947 Zwicky was married in Switzerland to Anna Margaritha Zurcher, and they had three daughters, Margrit, Franziska, and Barbarina. Three grandchildren were born after his passing away. The Zwicky Museum at the Landesbibliothek, Glarus, houses many of his papers and scientific works, and the Fritz Zwicky Stiftung (Foundation) in Switzerland carries on his ideas relating to "morphological analysis". Zwicky died in Pasadena on February 8, 1974 and was buried in Mollis, Switzerland.

Notable awards
President's Medal of Freedom (1949)
Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1972)

(There is a crater on the moon named after him.)

Fritz Zwicky was born in Varna, Bulgaria to a Swiss father. His father, Fridolin Zwicky (b. 1868), was a prominent industrialist in the Bulgarian city and also served as ambassador of Norway in Varna (1908–1933). The Zwicky House in Varna was designed and built by Fridolin Zwicky. Fritz's mother, Franziska Vrček (b. 1871), was an ethnic Czech of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Fritz was the oldest of the Zwicky family's three children: he had a younger brother named Rudolf and a sister called Leoni. Fritz's mother died in Varna in 1927 and his father Fridolin remained in Bulgaria until 1945, when he returned to Switzerland. His sister Leoni married to a Bulgarian from Varna and spent her entire life in the city.
In 1904, at the age of six, Fritz was sent to his grandparents in Glarus, Switzerland, "the Zwicky's ancestral Swiss canton, to study commerce." His interests shifted to math and physics and he received an advanced education in mathematics and experimental physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, located in Zürich, Switzerland. In 1925, he emigrated to the United States to work with Robert Millikan at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) after receiving the "international fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation."
He was responsible for positing numerous cosmological theories that have a profound impact on understanding of our universe today. He was appointed Professor of Astronomy at Caltech in 1942 and also worked as a research director/consultant for Aerojet Engineering Corporation (1943–1961) and staff member of Mount Wilson Observatory and Palomar Observatory for most of his career. He developed some of the earliest jet engines and holds over 50 patents, many in jet propulsion, and is the inventor of the Underwater Jet (TIME March 14, 1949), the Two Piece Jet Thrust Motor and Inverted Hydro Pulse.
In April 1932, Fritz Zwicky married Dorothy Vernon Gates, the daughter of a prominent local family and Senator Egbert Gates. Her money was instrumental in the funding of the Palomar Observatory during the Great Depression. Nicholas Roosevelt, cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt, was his brother-in-law by marriage to Tirzah Gates. Zwicky and Dorothy divorced amicably in 1941. In 1947 Zwicky was married in Switzerland to Anna Margaritha Zurcher, and they had three daughters, Margrit, Franziska, and Barbarina. Three grandchildren were born after his passing away. The Zwicky Museum at the Landesbibliothek, Glarus, houses many of his papers and scientific works, and the Fritz Zwicky Stiftung (Foundation) in Switzerland carries on his ideas relating to "morphological analysis". Zwicky died in Pasadena on February 8, 1974 and was buried in Mollis, Switzerland.

Notable awards
President's Medal of Freedom (1949)
Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1972)

(There is a crater on the moon named after him.)


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