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Thoughts on the development of 20th century physics


Implications about the neutrino masses
Hans Bethe Scientist
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The theory as originally formulated by Wolfenstein gives you a connection between the neutrino mass and this process. And when you use all the existing experiments on solar neutrinos you can deduce that the mass of the µ-neutrino, assuming the µ-neutrino is the heavier one, that that mass is about 3 milli electron volts, that is three one-thousandths of an electron volt; as compared to the electron mass which is 500,000 electron volts. So the electron mass is then... some 100 million times bigger than the neutrino mass. That is... would be satisfactory, and this would be... this would be the best way to get access to the neutrino mass.

The late German-American physicist Hans Bethe once described himself as the H-bomb's midwife. He left Nazi Germany in 1933, after which he helped develop the first atomic bomb, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967 for his contribution to the theory of nuclear reactions, advocated tighter controls over nuclear weapons and campaigned vigorously for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Listeners: Sam Schweber

Silvan Sam Schweber is the Koret Professor of the History of Ideas and Professor of Physics at Brandeis University, and a Faculty Associate in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. He is the author of a history of the development of quantum electro mechanics, "QED and the men who made it", and has recently completed a biography of Hans Bethe and the history of nuclear weapons development, "In the Shadow of the Bomb: Oppenheimer, Bethe, and the Moral Responsibility of the Scientist" (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Tags: Mikheyev–Smirnov–Wolfenstein effect, Lincoln Wolfenstein

Duration: 1 minute, 28 seconds

Date story recorded: December 1996

Date story went live: 24 January 2008