Charles Francis Richter

  Male      American      Scientist

  Born : Apr 26, 1900  -
  Died : Sep 30, 1985

About Author

Charles Francis Richter (April 26, 1900 – September 30, 1985) was an American seismologist and physicist. Richter is most famous as the creator of the Richter magnitude scale which, until the development of the moment magnitude scale in 1979, quantified the size of earthquakes. Inspired by Kiyoo Wadati's 1928 paper on shallow and deep earthquakes, Richter first used the scale in 1935 after developing it in collaboration with Beno Gutenberg; both worked at California Institute of Technology. The quote "logarithmic plots are a device of the devil" is attributed to Richter.

Richter was born in Overpeck, Ohio. Richter had German heritage: his great-grandfather came from Baden-Baden (Baden-Württemberg, Germany) in 1848 due to political instability. Richter's parents (Fred W. Kinsinger and Lillian Anna Richter) were divorced when he was very young. He grew up with his maternal grandfather, who moved the family (including his mother) to Los Angeles in 1909. After graduating from Los Angeles High School he attended Stanford University and received his undergraduate degree in 1920. In 1928, he began work on his PhD in theoretical physics from the California Institute of Technology, but, before he finished it, he was offered a position at the Carnegie Institute of Washington. At this point, he became fascinated with seismology (the study of earthquakes and the waves they produce in the earth). Thereafter, he worked at the new Seismological Laboratory in Pasadena, under the direction of Beno Gutenberg. In 1932, Richter and Gutenberg developed a standard scale to measure the relative sizes of earthquake sources, called the Richter scale. In 1937, he returned to the California Institute of Technology, where he spent the rest of his career, eventually becoming professor of seismology in 1952...

Quotes by Charles Francis Richter

More Quotes by Charles Francis Richter