a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Lecturing in Cambridge, England


A difference of opinions
Murray Gell-Mann Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

This 56 is totally symmetrical. So one needs… if there was another variable, we needed total anti-symmetry in the other variable. And what Nambu found was that if he introduced a vector boson which was an octet in this new variable then he got indeed the singlet to be the lowest state, the anti-symmetric configuration to be the lowest state. And that way he got a symmetrical configuration in the… in the SU(3) and the spin variables—namely the 56. Perfect. Well, if I had read that paper I would probably have changed the, some of the assumptions. First of all I would have gotten rid of the integral charges, I would have had a… a color variable with no color contribution… no colored contribution to the electromagnetic current or charge. Second, I would have kept the confinement. Third, I would have suggested a Yang-Mills theory instead of just the potential from the exchange of a vector particle. And then we would have had basically quantum chromodynamics. So the… the necessary ideas were there in 1966.

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: Yoichiro Nambu

Duration: 1 minute, 26 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1997

Date story went live: 29 September 2010