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Back at Caltech; looking into triplets


The summer of 1963
Murray Gell-Mann Scientist
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I was at Woods Hole for a while and… and then we… my son was born, Nicholas. We wanted it to be on July 4th because that was the birthday of Margaret's brother, but of course they… since we lived in Woods Hole and the confinement was going to take place in Boston, at Boston Lying-in Hospital, we had to have the birth induced and the doctors wouldn't do it on a holiday, so his birthday is July 6th. And, anyway all of these things were happening at once: the job question, the birth of a new child, and the thinking about these questions of national security and stability of the… of the security situation, worrying about quarks and so on and so forth, and it was… it was very complicated. The previous summer Murph and I had take a little time off from our discussions of anti-ballistic missiles to write a letter about the moving Regge poles in field theory–that was in the summer of ’62. In the summer of ’63 I didn't do that, it was just too much of a strain writing that report.

New York-born physicist Murray Gell-Mann (1929-2019) was known for his creation of the eightfold way, an ordering system for subatomic particles, comparable to the periodic table. His discovery of the omega-minus particle filled a gap in the system, brought the theory wide acceptance and led to Gell-Mann's winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1969.

Listeners: Geoffrey West

Geoffrey West is a Staff Member, Fellow, and Program Manager for High Energy Physics at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is also a member of The Santa Fe Institute. He is a native of England and was educated at Cambridge University (B.A. 1961). He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1966 followed by post-doctoral appointments at Cornell and Harvard Universities. He returned to Stanford as a faculty member in 1970. He left to build and lead the Theoretical High Energy Physics Group at Los Alamos. He has numerous scientific publications including the editing of three books. His primary interest has been in fundamental questions in Physics, especially those concerning the elementary particles and their interactions. His long-term fascination in general scaling phenomena grew out of his work on scaling in quantum chromodynamics and the unification of all forces of nature. In 1996 this evolved into the highly productive collaboration with James Brown and Brian Enquist on the origin of allometric scaling laws in biology and the development of realistic quantitative models that analyse the influence of size on the structural and functional design of organisms.

Tags: Woods Hole, Boston, Boston Lying-in Hospital, Nicolas Gell-Mann, Murph Goldberger

Duration: 1 minute, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1997

Date story went live: 24 January 2008