March 07, 2011

Boson Dreams

Simon van der Meer is clearly not a household name. But he has made many seminal contributions to the technologies used by particle physicists.

Here's how CERN remembers Simon van der Meer.

The story of how we have burrowed ever deeper into the secrets of nature in particle physics in the last century is utterly fascinating. The story of how the W and Z particles came to be predicted and then detected is a small part of the larger story. Simon van der Meer along with Carlo Rubia got their Nobels in Physics for designing the experiments that led to the detection of these particles at CERN. Weinber, Glashow, and Salam were of course the ones who combined the elctromagnetic and weak interactions. The W and Z particles are carriers of the weak nuclear force just as the photon is the carrier of electromagnetic force.

The Higgs boson is one part of the puzzle which still remains to be solved.

The list of particles already discovered and some predicted/theorized is clearly vast.

Here's a great article about how the W and Z particles came to be discovered:

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