Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
Luis Walter Alvarez
Born: 13 June 1911, San Francisco, CA, USA
Died: 1 September 1988, Berkeley, CA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for his decisive contributions to elementary particle physics, in particular the discovery of a large number of resonance states, made possible through his development of the technique of using hydrogen bubble chamber and data analysis."
Prize share: 1/1
Opportunities to investigate our world's smallest components were revolutionized by C.T.R. Wilson's invention of the cloud chamber and Donald Glaser's invention of the bubble chamber. In these devices electrically charged particles leave trails behind them. In the latter part of the 1950s, Luis Alvarez further developed the bubble chamber by using liquid hydrogen. He also developed new measurement systems and computer-based methods for analyzing large quantities of data. This has led to the discovery of a number of previously unknown particles.