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Pierre Ramond, John Schwarz and André Neveu; superstring theory

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People at CERN. Veneziano's theory, string theory, bootstrap theory
Murray Gell-Mann Scientist
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At CERN the people in the office next door, Goddard and Olive and, who were the others? I forget. Anyway there was a group of very skilled theoretical physicists right next door who were showing that Veneziano's theory was equivalent to a string theory, and string theory and a bootstrap theory carried out in the spirit that I favored, namely with an infinite number of states and not just a restriction to one or two states. These turned out to be very similar ideas and… and actually equivalent in the case of the Veneziano model. Because of that, and because of the fact that the bootstrap, and therefore the strings, were thought to apply to hadrons, Fritzsch and I hesitated between quantum chromodynamics itself and some kind of stringy version of it. As I mentioned, and as I read off a little while ago, it’s true that there are strings in quantum chromodynamics, but they're only in certain limits and they're approximate and they're an artefact, they're… they're a consequence of a theory and not fundamental.

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: CERN, Peter Goddard, David Olive, Harald Fritzsch

Duration: 1 minute, 25 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1997

Date story went live: 29 September 2010