Nicholas Christofilos

Physicist from United States of America

Nicholas Constantine Christofilos (Νικόλαος Χριστοφίλου) (December 16, 1916 – September 24, 1972) was a Greek-American physicist. Christofilos was born in Boston, Massachusetts and raised in Greece. He attended the National Technical University of Athens at age 18, and graduated with a degree in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in 1938. He remained in Greece during World War II, working for an Athens elevator maintenance company during the Nazi occupation. He later founded his own elevator company. During all of this, he maintained an amateur interest in accelerator physics and high-energy particle physics, and studied German and American texts on the subjects extensively. In 1946 he independently developed ideas for a synchrotron and in 1949 he conceived the strong-focusing principle. Rather than publishing in a journal he submitted a patent application in the US and Greece. His discovery went unnoticed for several years, and strong focusing was rediscovered by Ernest Courant et al. in 1952 (who acknowledged his priority one year later), and applied to accelerators at BNL, Cornell and CERN. Christofilos was offered a position at Brookhaven in 1953. In 1956 he joined Lawrence  ( Wikipedia article )


Personal facts

Date of birth
Place of birth
United States of America


Institution From To
National Technical University of Athens


Date of death

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