14 votes

How did J. J. Thomson establish the particle nature of the electron?

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 ...
  • 68.5k
12 votes

Who predicted the existence of the muon neutrino?

Nobody in particular, it was what is called "folklore". The idea came up naturally when muon decay was observed by several groups in 1948, see Anicin's The Neutrino - Its Past, Present and ...
  • 68.5k
11 votes
Accepted

What theories preceded the wave, particles and duality models of light?

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 ...
  • 68.5k
10 votes
Accepted

Who did say that anyone who discover a new particle should be fined instead of receiving a prize?

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 ...
10 votes
Accepted

Was there a period of doubt in the history of the Higgs mechanism?

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 ...
  • 68.5k
9 votes
Accepted

Why don't we name the Higgs boson a "higgson"?

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 ...
  • 8,143
8 votes
Accepted

Significance of Higgs model used in Glashow-Salam-Weinberg theory

This is precisely why this question belongs to HSM.SE with both feet! Your vision of what happened is deeply misleading, possibly requiring time travel. Recall the GWS 79 prize citation: "for ...
6 votes
Accepted

Where did the naming structure of particles come from (suffix -on)?

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)- ...
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6 votes

Significance of Higgs model used in Glashow-Salam-Weinberg theory

It is called verification from experimental results. The GSW theories fitted mathematically the observed particle zoo symmetries and explained the approximate symmetries seen in the data. The Higgs ...
  • 169
5 votes

Who predicted the existence of the muon neutrino?

I have compiled some answers to my question here: Neutrinos and neutrettos. The history is indeed complex, but a lot of credit must be given to Sakata and Inoue, who published in 1942 a paper on a ...
  • 311
5 votes

Did scientists at some point believe that *everything* is made out of atoms?

There was a time in the late 1800's-to-early 1900's when it became fairly clear that all substances in the material world were made of atoms. This "atomic theory" was not adopted by all scientists, ...
4 votes

Did classical physicists feel ill-at-ease about point charges?

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 ...
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3 votes
Accepted

In which article did the physicist Sheldon Glashow introduce his electroweak theory?

Glashow did not introduce it in any article, in 1961 or ever. Glashow's Partial Symmetries of Weak Interactions (Nucl. Phys. 22 (1961) 579-588) did something more modest, it proposed $SU(2)×U(1)$ ...
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3 votes
Accepted

Why was the idea of anti-particles having negative mass abandoned?

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 ...
3 votes
Accepted

When the Superconducting Super Collider was built, was the future of the site planned for?

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 ...
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3 votes

Why don't we name the Higgs boson a "higgson"?

Gordon Fraser and I proposed the name "higgson" in the July 2012 issue of "Physics World," just as the boson was being discovered. We were not aware of Gell-Mann's prior advocacy ...
3 votes

Why don't we name the Higgs boson a "higgson"?

Murray Gell-Mann proposed the term “higgson” as synonym for “Higgs boson” in his 1994 (A39) book The Quark and the Jaguar (pgs. 193-97).
2 votes

Where did the term "tauon" come from?

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 ...
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2 votes

How was proton determined to be a common component of all atoms?

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 ...
  • 68.5k
2 votes

When was the quantization of spin discovered?

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 ...
2 votes

How was the spontaneous symmetry breaking introduced and how did it lead to the Higgs mechanism?

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 ...
  • 68.5k
2 votes

How did Stern-Gerlach experiment change the concept of space quantization and electron spin?

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 ...
  • 68.5k
2 votes

Is there a source for a footnote in *A Canticle for Leibowitz* about the definition of the electron, "Negative Twist of Nothingness"

I have found a provisional answer to my own question. For the time being I will not accept it because it does not mention either Léon Brillouin or Robert Andrews Millikan. I still hope someone will ...
  • 160
2 votes
Accepted

How were the ions produced in Lawrence's 1932 cyclotron?

This is discussed in the original article in Physics Review in the Experimental Arrangement section (starting on page 25). The source of ions. An ideal source of ions is one that delivers to the ...
1 vote
Accepted

Who coined the 'particle zoo' expression?

I suspect if the witticism had been associated to a specific individual, we'd be hearing more and more, and also competitive attributions to it. Oppenheimer (below) had a yen for adopting catchy ...

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