View Full Version : Murrary Gell-Mann dies, identified quarks as atomic building blocks

2019-May-25, 05:50 PM
Murray Gell-Mann has died at age 89, one of the pillars of particle physics (https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/context/murray-gell-mann-gave-structure-subatomic-world) and "creator" of the quark.

“We had this list of particles which were all supposedly elementary, and the idea was to find out how they interacted,” Gell-Mann recalled in a 1997 interview. That meant figuring out the nature of the strong nuclear force, the glue that holds protons and neutrons together in the atomic nucleus. Nobody knew why there were so many such strongly interacting particles.

All along, many physicists had believed that the new particles could not all be elementary. Some must have been mashups of more basic components. One popular view, called “nuclear egalitarianism,” held that none of the particles were basic building blocks. Rather they were all made up of various combinations of each other, including themselves.

Pondering these ideas, Gell-Mann constructed tables of particles, sort of like the periodic table of the chemical elements. In 1961 he showed that the particles could be grouped in patterns; gaps in the patterns suggested the existence of undiscovered particles, which did in fact soon show up in experiments, with the properties that Gell-Mann had predicted.

Another set of shoulders on which to stand.

2019-May-25, 06:01 PM
A giant in the field(s)