I am almost sure I read once that a famous physicist said that anyone who discover a new particle should be fined instead of receiving a prize. The context was that at the time there was more and more particles being found and little theory to give account of that. It was necessary some model based on few elementary particles.

Unfortunately I am not finding such quote anywhere. Is that quote true? If yes, who said that? Any reference would be great.

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    $\begingroup$ So, we can update the famous gulag cartoon to have the following exchange: A: "I won the Nobel prize in Literature. What was YOUR crime?" B: "I discovered a new particle in Physics." $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2019 at 9:17

1 Answer 1


According to a slide deck I found, it was Willis Lamb. Quote from said deck:

In 1955, Willis Lamb started his Nobel Prize acceptance speech by saying that “maybe physicists discovering a new particle ought to be fined 10 000$”

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Carl! Indeed, he started his Nobel prize lecture by saying that. $\endgroup$
    – Diracology
    Jul 31, 2018 at 12:24

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