|On a 17 October:|
1990 Nobel Physics prize to Friedman, Kendall, and Taylor
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.
It is announced that The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physics jointly to Professors
Jerome I. Friedman and Henry W. Kendall both of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Richard E. Taylor of Stanford University, Stanford,
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.
A breakthrough in our understanding of the structure of matter
Professors Jerome I. Friedman and Henry W. Kendall, both of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Richard E. Taylor, of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), share this year's Nobel Prize in Physics. The value of the prize is 4 million Swedish crowns. The three prizewinners were key persons in a research team which in a series of investigations found clear signs that there exists an inner structure in the protons and neutrons of the atomic nucleus. What has become known as the "SLAC-MIT experiment" paved the way for further investigations of the innermost structures of matter. Ever since the beginning of this century, researchers have studied the inner structure of atoms. Our knowledge has increased successively, among other ways through the discovery (about 1910-1930) of the nucleus of the atom and its nucleons. During the 1950s there arrived on the scene a large number of what were termed hadrons, whose properties resembled those of nucleons. To reduce these to order, the concept of quarks was introduced, at the beginning of the 1960s. Yet it was impossible to see any traces of quarks in nature until the SLAG-MIT experiment itself.
The discovery was made when protons and neutrons were illuminated with beams from a giant "electron microscope" - a three-kilometer-long accelerator at SLAC in California. The inner structure was interpreted to mean that quarks form the fundamental building blocks of protons and neutrons. The electrically neutral "glue" binding the quarks together is called gluons. All matter on earth, including our human bodies, consists to more than 99% of quarks with associated gluons. The little that remains is electrons.
The prizewinners' contributions
The work now rewarded was carried out at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s by a group of researchers from MIT and SLAC. The work was a continuation of earlier investigations in which, using the electron as a probe, the structure of nucleons (protons and neutrons) was studied. Unlike in earlier investigations, electron beams of record-high energies were now available. These beams were supplied by a two-mile-long linear accelerator at SLAC, which afforded a "microscope" of higher resolution than earlier. No new phenomenon was expected: the experiment was fairly generally regarded as routine. Electron scattering against nucleons, but at lower electron energies, had been performed over two decades, and it was thought that enough was known about the structure of nucleons - a view that proved to be entirely false.
The essence of the SLAG-MIT experiments was to observe how a beam of electrons at high velocities (energy from 4 GeV to 21 GeV) is affected when it is led through a target consisting either of liquid hydrogen or of deuterium. The scattered electrons were recorded using two large magnetic spectrometers. One of these was used for observing electrons scattered at 6 and 10 degrees, and the other for greater scattering angles (18, 26 and 34 degrees). As well as the scattering angle, the energy of the electrons was measured with the spectrometers.
Collaboration between SLAC and MIT started at the beginning of 1967, with the study of so called elastic scattering against protons (the process e + p - > e + p, in which the electron bounces against the proton as if they were both rubber balls). Similar experiments at lower electron energies had shown that the nucleons behaved like "soft" structures which were only able to scatter the electrons at small angles. The new results from elastic scattering confirmed the earlier measurements. The probability of obtaining a large scattering angle was found to be very small. Following this conventional initial phase, it was decided to have a look also at what was termed inelastic electron scattering, e + p -> e + X, where X is not necessarily a proton. Such processes were known from experiments at lower energies, and nothing fundamentally new was to be expected.
However, the researchers found to their amazement that the probability of deep inelastic scattering - where the incident electron loses a large part of its original energy and emerges at a large angle in relation to the original direction - was considerably greater than expected. At first they believed the result was incorrect or misinterpreted. One suspected source of error was so-called radiation corrections - the incident or departing electron could radiate away part of its energy in the form of light, which they had not observed, and which could therefore, they thought, have caused them to misinterpret what had happened. But after careful work on the part of the research group it gradually became clear that an inner nucleonic structure, termed hard scattering centres, had been observed. Here was a repetition, although at a deeper level, of one of the most dramatic events in the history of physics, the discovery of the nucleus of the atom.
At the beginning of our century Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden performed a series of experiments in which they measured the scattering of alpha particles passing through a thin metal foil. Geiger and Marsden (1909) found to their surprise that some of the alpha particles were scattered at very large angles, such as 90°, to their original direction. The head in Manchester, where Geiger and Marsden were working, was Ernest Rutherford, one of the most eminent physicists of the time and winner of the 1908 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Rutherford undertook a systematic theoretical investigation of Geiger's and Marsden's results and those of similar experiments with beta particles (as electrons were called at the time). In these, the no-less-amazing phenomenon had been discovered that a small fraction of the incident electrons boomeranged back after impact. Rutherford showed in a classic paper (1911) that the observations made did not agree with the current picture of the atom - a soft, jelly-like sphere in which the positive and negative charges were diffusely distributed. Such a soft target could at most produce a small deflection of the incident particles. He also found that the probability of many small deflections adding to achieve a large deflection was vanishingly small. After careful comparison of the data with theoretical expectations he concluded that "considering the evidence as a whole, it seems simplest to suppose that the atom contains a central charge distributed through a very small volume, and that the large single deflections are due to the central charge as a whole, and not to its constituents". Thus the concept of atomic nucleus was born.
Knowledge of the structure of the nucleus of the atom increased considerably when James Chadwick discovered the neutron in 1932. In the same year, Werner Heisenberg realised that atomic nuclei consist of protons and neutrons. Chadwick was rewarded with the 1935 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the neutron and Heisenberg received the 1932 Physics Prize for "the creation of quantum mechanics". The realization that the proton and the neutron were building blocks of atomic nuclei represented a giant step forwards in the systematisation of the design of matter. Proton, neutron and electron became the three fundamental building blocks of nature. But as early as 1933-1934 it was suspected that the proton and the neutron were more complicated particles than the electron. The nucleons exhibited unexpectedly large magnetic fields ("anomalous magnetic moments") which could be interpreted in such a way that they contained electric currents. The magnetic properties of the nucleons were first measured by Otto Stern and co-workers. Stern was rewarded with the 1943 Nobel Prize in Physics for "the molecular ray method and his discovery of the magnetic moment of the proton."
During the 1950s, the structure of nucleons was systematically investigated using electron scattering. A series of interesting phenomena were observed, among them that electrons with energies up to 1 GeV saw nucleons as soft "spheres", implying that electron scattering at large angles was very improbable. Measurements were taken of how charge and magnetism are distributed inside the nucleons. Robert Hofstadter played a leading role in these investigations and was rewarded with a 1961 Nobel Prize in Physics for his "pioneering studies of electron scattering in atomic nuclei and for his thereby achieved discoveries concerning the structure of the nucleons".
During the 1950s and 1960s the special position of the proton and the neutron as nature's building blocks was questioned. A large number of particles, termed hadrons, were being discovered at this time, and showed similarities to the nucleons. It became a matter of urgency to bring new order to physics so as to understand how hadrons should be classified. After many attempts, the riddle of the hadrons was successfully solved, mainly through the work of Murry Gell-Mann (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1969). The various hadrons were found to be related and to behave as members of a kind of family ("representations of a symmetry-group"). This abstract mathematical description became appreciably easier and more comprehensible when three building blocks were introduced, quarks. Now all the hadrons then known could be built up of these three quarks and their antiparticles. Since this involves great conceptual simplification, the quark concept was immediately taken seriously. Quarks were sought both in nature, e.g. in sea water, meteorites and cosmic rays, and in experiments using high-energy accelerators. But no quarks were to be found. After a time the most popular explanation of the absence of quarks was that they were only "mathematical quantities" included in the equations of physics.
The first traces of quarks
The SLAG-MIT experiments became the contemporary counterpart of Geiger's and Marsden's experiment. At that time, the scattering of alpha particles at large angles was explained by the existence of a "hard grain" the atomic nucleus - in the middle of the atom. In the modern version, Rutherford's role was assumed chiefly by the theoreticians James D. Bjorken and the late Richard P. Feynman (who received a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965). This time, the scattering of electrons at large angles was explained by the existence of "hard grains" - quarks - in the nucleons. But the results could not be fully explained using quarks alone. The experiments indicated that there were also electrically neutral components in the nucleons, and there was great eagerness to discover their nature as well. Development was rapid and the neutral components of the nucleons were soon interpreted as gluons, the intermediaries of the strong force. This introduced a new era in the history of physics.
Autobiographies: Friedman Taylor
Kendall: add that he was a longtime environmentalist and died on 15 February 1999.
Dr. Kendall was taking underwater photographs by himself in about three meters of water, during the Wakulla 2 Expedition of the US Deep Caving Team at one of the world's largest and deepest fresh water springs, the Wakulla Springs, a Florida State Park.
Kendall was using a Cis-Lunar Mk-5 rebreather. He had his gas block selected to offboard oxygen, but no offboard oxygen cylinder was in use, an idiotic mistake. At about 17:00 fellow divers found him floating, dead by hypoxia.
The Nobel Literature Prize to Claude Simon.
who in his novel combines the poet's and the painter's creativeness with a deepened awareness of time in the depiction of the human condition
Claude Simon (born in 1913) began to be noticed in earnest at the end of the 1950s in connection with the great interest in the so-called "new novel" in France. The term had been introduced by the critic Roland Barthes and was effectively launched a few years later by Alain Robbe-Grillet. The idea behind the term was to collect a group of French prose writers with little else in common except that they were against the more conventional fiction and broke its rules that a novel should have a continuous and realistic story and move along in a lucid and coherent way in time. The new storytellers in France linked up with other traditions, with patterns from poetry and the visual arts and with forerunners such as Faulkner and Proust. Their prose works had the appearance of linguistic montages or collages. They took place in the dimensions of memory and the apparently arbitrary or free association. Fragments from different times were closely joined on the basis of their content or emotional correspondences or aesthetic effects, but not on the basis of how they might have followed each other in the ordinary course of time. Influences from the visual arts were strongly in evidence. In a picture everything is contemporaneous. The flow of things that follow each other is brought about by the beholder's attention and co-creative feeling moving over what actually exists as a single coherent now. This abstract description can fairly well cover what seemed to unite the advocates of "le nouveau roman". In its general form it still applies to Claude Simon and his prose. However, the writers who used to be included under this term were very unlike each other, with very different aims and commitments in their linguistic work. And they did oppose being lumped together in a group as happened.
Claude Simon had begun with several partly autobiographical novels from the middle of the 1940s up to the middle of the 1950s. These works, nowadays little read, nevertheless heralded his later production, among other things in the feeling for the tragic and absurd in the human condition. The narrative method was however almost traditional, but influenced by Faulkner. The change in Simon's author-character came with the novels Le Vent, 1957, and L'Herbe, 1958. He himself counts the latter as the turning point in his writing. Both stories take place in the South of France, where Simon himself has his roots and lives as a viticulturist. The principal character in Le Vent is akin to the one in Dostoievsky's The Idiot a mysteriously complex man, at once confused and discerning, exposed to the fascination and inquisitive provocations and cruelties of his fellow men. He returns to the small town in the South of France to take over a bequest, a farm - and is caught up in absurd conflicts of various kinds, financial, erotic, and those involving prestige and the struggle for power. And over it all howls the hot mistral, the wind that fills the people with its everlasting, parching, dusty indefatigability - an inhuman element in which the people live as if, despite their activities and meddling, they are imprisoned in conditions which are more lasting and more powerful than themselves. In both these novels the author weaves a close and evocative web of words, of events and environments, of memories, thoughts, associations, with glidings and joins of elements according to a logic different from what the realistic continuity in time and space prescribes. Here we perceive how Claude Simon's linguistic art and peculiarity take shape, such as we shall recognize his prose in later works. The language begins to live its own life. Each word and description leads on to the next. Elucidations, amplifications, developments of thoughts and memories and pictures, nuances, corrections with the insertion of alternatives and possibilities, etc. cause the text to grow as if the language were an independently living organism which buds, puts out tendrils and sows seeds of its own accord and as if the author were a tool or a medium for its own creative force.
So too has Claude Simon himself described his way of working, especially after his experiences when writing the book Histoire, 1967 nothing short of a rapturous awareness of the sensual life and charm in giving oneself up to linguistic work and its surprises and seductions. The book is one of the peaks in Simon's writing, perhaps the work in which his linguistic peculiarity is most clearly evident.
It was preceded by two other novels, in which we can find some of the basic themes that constantly recur in Claude Simon's novels, also in Histoire - La Route des Flandres, 1960, and Le Palace, 1962. The first of these two novels made Simon's name internationally. It is a broad and complex description with strongly autobiographical touches and with memories and traditions from Simon's family. The story is thought to take place during the night that "the hero", Georges, spends with his mistress, Corinne - and this alone is a radical break with all realist narrative methods. The profusely flowing narration, its fragmentations and piling up of parallel actions and its discontinuous joining of scenes and of stories within stories burst the framework for every realistic narrative art in the traditional sense. The novel takes the shape of a penetrating description of the French collapse in 1940, when Simon himself took part as a cavalryman - ending up in due course as a prisoner-of-war. Simon's experiences during this war, like during the Spanish Civil War in which he took part in 1936, have been of immense importance to him, constantly recurring in his writings. Cruelty and absurdity are the dominating things - unforeseeable. What is apparently well-planned ends in confusion and dissolution, in which each one lives through his hardships and has to save himself as best he can. Simon's experiences from the Spanish Civil War were similar, depicted in Le Palace and his latest and most important novel, Les Géorgiques, 1981. For all the sympathies which he and others might have for those faithful to the government who fought against the fascists, it soon turned out that these government champions for their part, could by no means follow any regular and intelligently planned strategies and operations. On the contrary, the fighters were split into factions and mutual strife, giving way to meaningless and absurd foolhardiness, obstructions and hazardous enterprises. In Les Géorgiques George Orwell appears, thinly disguised. Simon's picture of the Spanish Civil War and of the intellectual idealists who like Orwell, and his English sympathizers, wanted to find an ideologically clear reason in the fight against oppression, shapes itself into a version, at once grotesque and tragic, compassionate and ironic, of war's reality and of man's inability to guide his fate and correct his conditions. La Route Des Flandres and Les Géorgiques are richly decorated compositions which, with sensuous perspicacity and linguistic invocation, conjure up an extremely complicated pattern of personal memories and family traditions, of experiences during modern war and of equivalents from bygone ages, to be exact the Napoleonic era. In other contexts Simon goes still farther back - to Caesar's fight against Pompey in 43 BC (in the novel La Bataille de Pharsale, 1969). The parallels are the same the cruelty, the violence and the absurdity are common to all, likewise the painful compassion and feeling that the author expresses in paradoxical contrast to the fascination that these phenomena obviously have for him. A similar feeling is characteristic of Simon's descriptions of erotic relationships, more rightly the sexual. In these contexts too there is a fascination or a fixation with violence and violation. The sexual contacts appear as conquests, the taking in possession, mountings which resemble what stallions and mares do, or outrages resembling what occurs in battle. A tragic feeling of life emerges also here - a picture of human loneliness and of how people are exposed to destructive passions and selfish impulses, disguised as vain striving for fellowship and intimacy .
Against these grim descriptions are contrasting elements of another kind - of tenderness and loyalty, of devotion to work and duty, to heritage and traditions and solidarity with dead and living kinsmen. In particular there appears as a contrast of a consoling or edifying kind the devotion to such as grows and sprouts independent of man's lust for power and overweening enterprise. There is a growth which lives by its own power, despite what men can do. The best people in Simon's novels are those who subordinate themselves to this growth and serve it. We meet some old women, loyal to farm and family and traditions. We even meet in the brutal and at last disillusioned warrior a loyal love for his dead young wife. We meet a serving and a patient endurance which, without any self-important airs, is reflected within these people, which lives with them even if otherwise in their ostentatious deeds and ways they seem filled with egoism and brutality.
First and foremost we meet this growth, this vitality and this creativeness and this viability in language and memory, in the shaping, the renewal and the development of what is and was and what rises again inspired and alive through the pictures in words and story for which we seem to be more instruments than masters. Claude Simon's narrative art may appear as a representation of something that lives within us whether we will or not, whether we understand it or not, whether we believe it or not - something hopeful, in spite of all cruelty and absurdity which for that matter seem to characterize our condition and which is so perceptively, penetratingly and abundantly reproduced in his novels.
El novelista francés Claude Simon gana el Premio Nobel de Literatura.