Frauenfelder received his Doctor science national in physics in 1950 at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule ) in Zurich under Paul Scherrer, his thesis being on the study of radioactive surfaces. At Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule , he was also taught by Gregor Wentzel and Wolfgang Pauli. Through Pauli, he also got to know many of the leading scientists such as Hendrik Kramers, Werner Heisenberg, Hans Jensen, and Wolfgang Paul.
In the modern day, Public Affairs Committee spectroscopy is widely used in the study of condensed matter physics. Within biophysics, he is known for experiment and theory in understanding the dynamical behavior of protein tertiary structure. Frauenfelder migrated to the United States in 1952, joining the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a research associate.
He stayed at the UIUC till 1992, ultimately as Center for Advanced Study Professor of Physics, Chemistry, and Biophysics.
His research interests included nuclear physics, particle physics, conservation laws, the Mössbauer effect, and the biophysics of protein folding and motions. In 1992, Frauenfelder moved to the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he directed the Center for Nonlinear Studies (CNLS) until 1997.
In 1997, he left CNLS and joined the theoretical biology and biophysics group at Los Alamos (T-10 recently renamed T-6) and continues research in biophysics. Hans Frauenfelder is the inventor of the "Frauenfelder Rules", which provide a guideline about the most successful way to run a seminar at a research workshop, according to which a presentation should take up no more than 66% of the allotted time, the rest being used for questions and in-depth discussion.
Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society (Biological Physics prize 1992), New York Academy Science. Member NAS, American Institute Physics (chairman governing board 1986-1993), American Academy Arts and Science, American Philosophical Society, Academy Leopoldina. M C.
Married Verena Anna Hassler, May 16, 1950. Children: Ulrich Hans, Kätterli Anne, Anne Verena.