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Raymond Davis Jr. (born October 14, 1914) is an American physicist.

He was born in Washington DC, where his father was a photographer for the National Bureau of Standards. He spent several years as a choir boy to please his mother, although he could not carry a tune. He enjoyed attending the concerts at the Watergate before air traffic was loud enough to drown out the music. His brother Warren, 14 months younger than he, was his constant companion in boyhood. He graduated in chemistry from the University of Maryland in 1938. He also received a masters degree from that school and a Ph.D. from Yale University in physical chemistry in 1942.

Most of the war years were spent at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah observing the results of chemical weapons tests and exploring the Great Salt Lake basin for evidences of its predecessor, Lake Bonneville.

Upon his discharge from the army in 1946, he went to work at Monsanto Chemical Company's Mound Laboratory, in Miamisburg, Ohio, doing applied radiochemistry of interest to the Atomic Energy Commission. In 1948, he joined Brookhaven National Laboratory, which was dedicated to finding peaceful uses for atomic energy. There he met his wife, Anna Torrey, and together they built a 21-foot sailboat. They have five children and have lived in the same house in Blue Point, New York for over 50 years.

He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2002 with Japanese physicist Masatoshi Koshiba for pioneering contributions to astrophysics, in particular for the detection of cosmic neutrinos, looking at the solar neutrino problem.


  • Cyrus B. Comstock Prize of the National Academy of Sciences (1978)
  • Tom W. Bonner Prize of the American Physical Society (1988)
  • W. K. H. Panofsky Prize of the American Physical Society (1992)
  • Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize of the American Astronomical Society (1994)
  • George Ellery Hale Prize of the American Astronomical Society (1996)
  • Wolf Prize in Physics (2000)
  • National Medal of Science (2001)
  • Nobel Prize in Physics (2002)


Autobiography at Nobelprize.org

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