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Carl Anderson and Antimatter

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Abstract

Since ancient Greek times, philosophers and scientists have sought the ultimate building blocks of nature. For a while and throughout the 1950s, many thought they’d found them all. But, just as drama and excitement are among the great qualities of physics, so is frustration. And since the early 1960s, every time physicists began to think they’d found all of the basic particles, a new one would appear to tease them. As former presidential science advisor Robert Bacher told me in his office at Caltech, “it seemed like a bottomless pit.”1

Keywords

Cloud Chamber Geiger Counter Positive Electron Negative Energy State Parallel Universe 
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Endnotes

  1. 1.
    Interview with Robert Bacher, June 1984, California Institute of Technology.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    P. A. M. Dirac, Nobel Prize Address, 1933, as reprinted in Timothy Ferris, editor, The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics (Little, Brown, Boston, 1991), p. 83.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    P. A. M. Dirac, Nobel Prize Address, 1933, as reprinted in Timothy Ferris, editor, The World Treasury of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics (Little, Brown, Boston, 1991), p. 84.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See Laurie Brown and Lillian Hoddeson, “The Birth of Elementary-Particle Physics,” Physics Today, April 1982.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
    See Laurie M. Brown, “The Idea of the Neutrino,” Physics Today, September 1978, for more on theoretical work on the nucleus during this period.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    See also Daniel J. Kevles, The Physicists (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1978), p. 231.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    From Robert Millikan to J. Robert Oppenheimer, personal letter of August 31 (from the Archives of the California Institute of Technology).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    See Laurie Brown and Lillian Hoddeson, “The Birth of Elementary-Particle Physics,” Physics Today, April 1982.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Interview of Linus Pauling by John Heilbron, March 27, 1964.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Daniel J. Kevles, The Physicists (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1978), p. 233.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Alice Kimball Smith and Charles Weiner, “The Young Oppenheimer: Letters and Recollections,” Physics Today, April 1980.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hans Bethe and Walter Heitler, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series A, 1934, 146:83.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anthony Serafini 1993

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