11

The idea that matter was made up of "primordial" particles, and currents in metals consisted of them was well established by then. Stoney suggested the name "electron" in 1891, and Lorentz's theory of electrons dates back to 1892, see Wikipedia's timeline. Thomson himself mentioned Prout as the source for the view, and saw his task at hand more in ...


11

The wave and the particle (or corpuscular) theories of light go back to the 17-th century and are often associated with Huygens and Newton, respectively, as their founders. What preceeded them was called geometric optics, where light consisted of rays connecting an eye to an object. There were two theories in geometric optics too. According to the emission ...


9

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$”


7

There are a number of reasons: The thing that differentiates fermions and bosons from the Higgs boson specifically is that they are general classes of particles (based on spin), while the Higgs boson is a specific particle (or particle type, if you will). The names "fermions" and "bosons" were coined by Paul Dirac, who was no longer in prominence when the ...


7

Not only was there such a period, but it lasted up until the LHC detection of the Higgs boson in 2012, and in a way it continues until today. Higgs boson is the quantum carrier of a scalar field, the Higgs field, and other elementary particles acquire mass through symmetry breaking by interacting with it, this is called the Higgs mechanism. The indirect ...


6

This is a question about etymology. It all started with the genuine Greek words anion “going up” and kation “going down”, both neuter participles of the verb “to go” with different preverbs: an(a)- and kat(a)-. Then we got “ion” on its own as a term encompassing both, and then, by analogy, “proton”, “electron”, “neutron”, and ultimately also “positron” (...


4

Yes, they did, and the problem persists in quantum field theory to the extent that electrons can be called "point charges" (they are neither waves nor particles despite common terminology, and technically each one is smeared all over the universe). The classical electron theory of Lorentz-Abraham had multiple issues, some related to electron's point like ...


3

Not. At. All. The plans for the future of the site of the SSC resembled the collider itself in that they were nonexistent. When Congress refused the extend the budget for the project, no alternative ideas for the site went anywhere. From the Sun-Journal: In Ellis County, Texas, where the collider was being built, owners of condemned houses and others ...


3

What motivated physicists to abandon the idea of anti-particles having a negative mass? Nothing. They never took the idea seriously. Don't forget that in his 1905 E=mc² paper Einstein said “the mass of a body is a measure of its energy-content”. You can remove energy from a thing just as you can shorten a pencil. However when you remove all the energy from ...


2

This Wikipedia thread is hilarious, but it is not hard to figure out where "tauon" came from after muon, pion, kaon, etc. When the same type of abbreviation is used enough times people start treating it as a generating rule, it's the same with other types of linguistic formation. It's a wonder we don't have rhoons, omegaons as well, maybe they just don't ...


2

A great source on the history of particle physics is Pais's Inward Bound, see also references in In which experiments the charge to mass ratio of proton was determined? thread on Physics SE. Charge to mass ratios for various ions were measured soon after Thomson's discovery of the electron, first for hydrogen apparently by Wien in 1898 based on canal (or ...


2

Quantization of spin was discovered experimentaly by Stern and Gerlach in 1922. See Wikipedia article "Stern-Gerlach experiment". The correct theoretical model for spin was constructed by Pauli and Dirac in 1928.


2

Spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB or SBS) refers to the fact that the lowest energy state, the vacuum, may not be invariant under all symmetries of the theory, in other words, several vacua are possible. While it was always a logical possibility, before 1950s physicists generally regarded it as unphysical. First examples of SBS did indeed appear in ...


2

Stern and Gerlach indeed did not know anything about the electron spoin when they conducted their experiments in 1921-22. Their experiments rather were originally misinterpreted to confirm the old quantum theory of Bohr-Sommerfeld, without spin, and eventually led to the emergence of the concept of spin proposed by Goudsmit and Uhlenbeck in 1925-26. ...


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