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    Burton Richter

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    March 22, 1931 – July 18, 2018

    Naming things is quite important for scientists. Take Burton Richter (perhaps the only Jew ever named Burton), who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1976.

    He won it together with Samuel Ting, but this was not a cooperative effort. Richter, from Stanford, and Ting, from MIT, discovered a subatomic particle simultaneously, yet independently. We're not exaggerating: both announced their findings on the same date, November 11, 1974.

    The particle discovered consisted of a charm quark and a charm antiquark. (Stop us if we lost you.) It now stands out from other subatomic particles because it doesn't have one name, but two. Richter named it "ψ" (the Greek letter psi), Ting named it "J", no one was the winner, so it became the J/ψ meson. (However, in its excited state, it becomes ψ', because Richter's group was the one who discovered the meson can get excited, so he gets the credit.)


    Verdict: Jeψ.

    October 18, 2019

    See Also

    Claude Cohen-Tannoudji

    Leon Cooper

    Brian Josephson

    Frederick Reines

    George Zweig
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