Emilio Gino Segrè
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1959
Born: 1 February 1905, Tivoli, Italy
Died: 22 April 1989, Lafayette, 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, Emilio Segrè and Owen Chamberlain confirmed the existence of the proton’s antiparticle, the antiproton.
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