The Nobel Prize in Physics 1969
Born: 15 September 1929, New York, NY, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for his contributions and discoveries concerning the classification of elementary particles and their interactions."
Prize share: 1/1
During the 1950s and 1960s, new accelerators and apparatuses helped identify many new elementary particles. In theoretical works from the same period, Murray Gell-Mann classified particles and their interactions. He proposed that observed particles are in fact composite, that is, comprised of smaller building blocks called quarks. According to this theory, as-yet-undiscovered particles should exist. When these were later found in experiments, the theory was accepted.
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.