The Nobel Prize in Physics 1959
Born: 10 July 1920, San Francisco, CA, USA
Died: 28 February 2006, Berkeley, CA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discovery of the antiproton."
Prize share: 1/2
The matter around us has a kind of mirror image - antimatter. A particle and its antiparticle have an opposite electrical charge, among other things. The electron's antiparticle positron was the first to be discovered. With high concentrations of energy, a pair of particles and antiparticles can be created, but when a particle and an antiparticle meet, both are annihilated and their mass is converted into radiation. In a 1955 experiment with a powerful particle accelerator, Owen Chamberlain and Emilio Segrè confirmed the existence of the proton's antiparticle, the antiproton.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.