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Science in Seconds - George Zweig

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Science in Seconds Know Everything People of Science GEORGE ZWEIG Brit Trogen: Science is full of tales of unsung heroes. For Darwin, it was Alfred Wallace; for quark theory, it was George Zweig. In 1964, Zweig was a promising graduate student, under Richard Feynmann, when he made the discovery that would define the rest of his academic career: that all subatomic particles are made of a small number of basic parts. Zweig suggested that there were four such parts, which he named "aces", after the playing cards. Unfortunately, the CERN Journal "Physics Letters" refused Zweig's elaborate paper on the subject. The idea that matter was made up of ineffable, invisible particles was widely ridiculed. But in the same year, another version of the same idea was proposed by physicist Murray Gell-Mann, a prominent scientist, and mentor to Zweig. Gell-Mann managed to publish in the exact same journal, though the editor described it as a crazy paper. Gell-Mann named the particles "quarks", a name taken from James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake". Unlike Zweig, who believed aces to be physical constituents of hadrons, Gell-Mann's quarks were purely mathematical entities, fractions of charges that couldn't be isolated. Ultimately, Gell-Mann would develop a combination of these two theories, Zweig's constituent quarks (or "aces") being the covering of the Gell-Mann's current quarks. And for his efforts, was rewarded with the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics. Zweig, however, was not so lucky: his crazy idea let to him being blackballed from the position at the major university, the department head calling him "a charlatan". He ultimately switched fields to neurobiology, and today works in finance. But his work has been absorbed into modern physics, where we now all accept that matter is made up of a handful of fundamental particles, including quarks. Licensed for educational/non-profit purposes only. (Translators are welcome to put their name here)

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 22 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Producer: Science in Seconds
Director: Science in Seconds
Views: 283
Posted by: tradottiinitaliano on Jan 21, 2012

You've probably never heard of George Zweig... Alas, it's not your fault. Despite the fact that he made enormous contributions to quark theory in the 60's, his story didn't exactly have a happy ending...

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