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Giving a class in Chicago. Presenting a paper with Pais


Associated production, isotopic spin and strangeness
Murray Gell-Mann Scientist
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I didn't know about the associated production ideas. When I worked on the isotopic spin I was just thinking about isotopic spin, and it’s only afterwards when I proposed the idea that people told me about associated production. Later on, in writing about it in the... in The Scientific American and elsewhere, I described it as if—for pedagogical purposes-- as if I had first heard about associated production and then within that idea had suggested strangeness and isotopic spin. But that isn't true. I had never heard of associated production, I just developed the idea of isotopic spin and strangeness, and then discovered that it was a special case of something that people had been discussing called associated production. But it was a much more restrictive case and forbade a great many reactions that the associated production idea allowed; such as neutron plus neutron gives lambda plus lambda, and such as the thing I discussed with Courtenay Wright on the phone: if the charges had been the opposite it would have been forbidden.

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: Scientific American, Courtenay Wright

Duration: 1 minute, 5 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1997

Date story went live: 24 January 2008