Great part of the scientific activity of Prof. Bernhard Gross which came before his studies on electrets receive very little attention but are priceless. The papers on electrets started to have international prominence and repercussion after the 70’s and continued until early 80’s. I will comment a little about what he produced since the beginning of his career until the 60’s.
While still in Stuttgart, Germany, he published some papers about latitude corrections in detectors used to study cosmic rays in the atmosphere [references 1 and 2]. These articles were published in German. His work was soon generalized by E. J. Williams and published by Nature magazine . Later on, this correction became known as “Gross’s transformation”. In the celebrated book about cosmic rays, published in 1950 , chapter 3 is dedicated to “Gross’s transformation”.
His first paper in Brazil was regarding electrical properties of zeolites  which, together with the work on delayed effects on dielectric solids  and, later on, on static charges on dielectrics , marked the beginning of his research in the field of Materials, which would culminate with famed studies about electrets after the 60’s. However, some seminal works on mathematical models applied to visco-elastic systems were very significant. These works were published in the last years of the 40’s [8-11]. As a result of this works, Gross published a book on the subject, which is still used as essential reference for the field of rheology of solids .
Circa 1950, Gross performed a series of studies on the effects of radiation on vitreous and polymeric systems [13.14]. With these studies, he discovered an electrical current in dielectric solids, which was related to the Compton Effect, originating celebrated and seminal work . This effect explained the phenomenon occurring in nuclear plants, which had remained unexplained until then. The glass windows used as protection to radiation spontaneously cracked after being used for some time. Gross was invited by the Radiation Research Center in New York and, together with local researchers, he proved that Compton currents were responsible for the degradation of glass . Right after that, Gross invented the Compton dosimeter , which he patented in the Unites States, but lost it for the American army after a legal battle.
Still in Brazil, Gross started his first studies about electrets [18, 19]; being the first to manufacture what he called radioelectrets. After retiring from the National Institute of Technology, he was invited to be in charge of the Department of Scientific and Technical Information of the International Agency of Atomic Energy, in Vienna, where he stayed until the end of the 60’s. He published some relevant papers about scientific information  and returns as a researcher in the field of electrets in the 70’s.
Professor Roberto Mendonça Faria
Researcher on Group of Polymers “Prof. Bernhard Gross” (USP São Carlos)
Prof. Bernhard Gross’s PhD student, between 1980 and 1984.