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Piecing together the particle physics puzzle

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Pole dominance
Murray Gell-Mann Scientist
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Pole dominance was something that I saw very early to be important, in the pseudo-scalar channels; pole dominance of course becomes overwhelming in the limit of zero mass for the pseudo-scalar bosons. And for light ones it's still very important, pion especially, and that was when we derived the Goldberger-Treiman relation, we were using that. Then in the vector channel, a dominance by the rhomeson gave… and the omega gave rise to a lot of important… similar important relations. And I put all of that into the 1962 paper that was finally printed in the Physical Review about the Eightfold Way.

New York-born physicist Murray Gell-Mann is 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: Physical Review

Duration: 1 minute, 1 second

Date story recorded: October 1997

Date story went live: 29 September 2010