The Nobel Prize in Physics 1988
Born: 25 May 1921, Bad Kissingen, Germany
Died: 12 December 2020, Geneva, Switzerland
Affiliation at the time of the award: CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
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. Jack Steinberger, Leon Lederman, and Melvin Schwartz 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.
Their work and discoveries range from the Earth’s climate and our sense of touch to efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.
See them all presented here.