The Nobel Prize in Physics 1988
Leon M. Lederman, Melvin Schwartz, Jack Steinberger
Born: 25 May 1921, Bad Kissingen, Germany
Affiliation at the time of the award: CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
Prize motivation: "for the neutrino beam method and the demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino"
Field: particle physics
Prize share: 1/3
In decays of certain elementary particles, neutrinos are produced, particles that occasionally can interact with matter to produce an electron. Jack Steinberger, Leon Lederman and Melvin Schwartz managed to produce a beam of neutrinos using a high energy accelerator. In 1962 they discovered that in some cases instead of producing an electron, a muon (200 times more massive than the electron) was produced, showing the existence of a new type of neutrino, muonneutrino. These particles, called leptons, could be classified in families.