Henry W. Kendall
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1990
Born: 9 December 1926, Boston, MA, USA
Died: 15 February 1999, Wakulla Springs State Park, FL, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their pioneering investigations concerning deep inelastic scattering of electrons on protons and bound neutrons, which have been of essential importance for the development of the quark model in particle physics."
Prize share: 1/3
Normal matter consists of atoms possessing nuclei of protons and neutrons, surrounded by electrons. In a series of experiments conducted around 1970, Henry Kendall, Jerome Friedman, and Richard Taylor aimed high-energy electrons at protons and neutrons using a large accelerator. They studied how the electrons scattered during the collisions and how protons were sometimes converted into other particles. Their results supported the theory that protons and neutrons are composed of sub-particles, quarks.
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.