By Gian Francesco Giudice
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Additional info for A Zeptospace Odyssey, A Journey Into The Physics Of The LHC
15 W. Pauli, letter to N. Bohr, 17 July 1929, in Wolfgang Pauli, Scientific Correspondence, ed. A. Hermann, K. von Meyenn, V. Weisskopf, Springer, New York 1979. 40 | A Z E P T O S PA C E O D Y S S E Y During physics discussions, he used to oscillate his body, as if reciting Hasidic prayers. Theoretical physicists are often ribbed for having little practical sense or ability to handle laboratory instruments. Pauli excelled as a theoretical physicist also in this respect. He was even credited with the so-called “Pauli effect”: the mysterious phenomenon according to which, as soon as he crossed the threshold of a laboratory door, instruments broke into pieces or stopped working for unknown reasons.
The charge of the particle is measured by the bending of the track under the effect of a magnetic field. In 1936, Carl Anderson, the physicist who discovered the positron, and his student Seth Neddermeyer (1907–1988) were working at the California Institute of Technology, analysing cosmic rays with cloud chambers. Among the tracks, they discovered a new particle. It had the same charge as the electron, and its mass was measured to be in the FORC E S OF N A T U R E | 47 range between 100 and 400 times the electron mass, with 200 being the most probable value.
Dirac, Proceedings of the Royal Society, A133, 60, 1931. D I S S E C T I N G M A T T E R | 27 opposite to that of the electron and of comparable mass. Anderson, unaware that the particle already had a name among theorists, called it the positron. This is the name most frequently used today. “Yes, I knew about the Dirac theory,” declared Anderson in a later interview. “. . but I was not familiar in detail with Dirac’s work. ”27 The marriage between special relativity and quantum mechanics had generated antimatter.
A Zeptospace Odyssey, A Journey Into The Physics Of The LHC by Gian Francesco Giudice