The Story of Quarks – Part I

This is pretty cools.


“Three Quarks for Muster Mark!” – James Joyce, Finnigan’s Wake

Fifty years ago today, the journal Physics Letters received a paper from Murray Gell-Mann entitled “A Schematic Model of Baryons and Mesons”.1  The brief two page paper introduced the concept of “quarks” as the constituent particles of hadrons. As is generally the case with new discoveries, this one did not emerge all at once overnight.


The Particle Zoo and Strangeness

[Note: Much of this section summarizes portions of the first chapter of David Griffiths’ Introduction to Elementary Particles.]

In the decades following World War 2, spurred by the Cold War’s nuclear arms race, particle physicists had been building more and more powerful particle accelerators, as well as more sensitive particle detection technology to use in conjunction with those accelerators, as well as for use in the study of cosmic rays and the radiation from nuclear…

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