Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
Born: 2 November 1932, New York, NY, USA
Died: 28 August 2006, Twin Falls, ID, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Digital Pathways, Inc., Mountain View, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for the neutrino beam method and the demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino."
Prize share: 1/3
In decays of certain elementary particles, neutrinos are produced; particles that occasionally interact with matter to produce electrons. Melvin Schwartz, Leon Lederman, and Jack Steinberger managed to create a beam of neutrinos using a high-energy accelerator. In 1962, they discovered that, in some cases, instead of producing an electron, a muon (200 times heavier than an electron) was produced, proving the existence of a new type of neutrino, the muon neutrino. These particles, collectively called "leptons", could then be systematically classified in families.
See the list of all Nobel Prizes, awarded for "the greatest benefit to mankind."
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