Born: 16 March 1918, Paterson, NJ, USA
Died: 26 August 1998, Orange, CA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for the detection of the neutrino"
Field: particle physics
Prize share: 1/2
During the beta decay of a nucleus, a neutron is converted to a proton and an electron is produced. In studying the electron's velocity, it was clear that this decay violated energy-conversation and other laws. It was thus proposed that an additional particle - a neutrino - was formed during beta decay. In the early 1950s, Frederick Reines passed radiation from a nuclear reactor through a water tank and discovered reactions that proved the neutrino's existence.