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The Nobel Prize in Physics 1984
Carlo Rubbia, Simon van der Meer

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Simon van der Meer - Facts

Simon van der Meer

Simon van der Meer

Born: 24 November 1925, the Hague, the Netherlands

Died: 4 March 2011, Geneva, Switzerland

Affiliation at the time of the award: CERN, Geneva, Switzerland

Prize motivation: "for their decisive contributions to the large project, which led to the discovery of the field particles W and Z, communicators of weak interaction"

Field: experimental particle physics

Prize share: 1/2

Discovered the W and Z Particles

According to modern physics, there are four fundamental forces in nature. The weak interaction, responsible for e.g. the beta-decay of nuclei is one of them. According to the theory forces are mediated by particles: the weak interaction by the so called heavy bosons W, Z, about 100 times more massive than the proton. Simon van der Meer developed a method to accumulate a large number of energetic antiprotons in an accelerator ring. These were used in experiment where antiprotons and protons of high energy were brought to collide. In these experiments W and Z particles were discovered in 1983.

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