Showing posts with label scroll. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scroll. Show all posts

4 Unsolved Mysteries About The Higgs Boson

higgs boson god particle 10 years higgs LHC cern

On July 4, 2012 the Higgs Boson particle was discovered at the Large Hadron Collider that is operated by CERN, the European organization for nuclear research. It took 60 years to first detect the elusive particle and there is still a lot to learn about it, scientists say.

CERN closed the largest particle accelerator for maintenance work that was extended due to delays caused by the pandemic. In 2022, scientists celebrated the 10th anniversary of Higgs Boson discovery. They now hope to uncover more as LHC has gotten back in action after 3-year hiatus.

1. Is the Higgs connected to dark matter?


Since dark matter makes up about 30% of the universe's mass and considering Higgs boson's relation to mass, scientists want to find if the two are connected somehow. They may explore, for example, whether or not the Higgs boson particle decays into a dark matter particle.

As of current understanding, scientists know that the Higgs boson particle can decay into boson, fermion and muon. The goal is to see which other kind of mysterious particle the Higgs boson particle can decay into. So far no unusual particles have been detected in collider experiments.


2. Does the Higgs boson interact with itself?


Matter particles (such as electron) move through the Higgs field and acquire their characteristic mass. More interaction means more the mass attained by the particle. Scientists hope to run experiments to find if the Higgs boson particle interacts with itself as predicted by the standard model.

This is the main question about the Higgs particle right now, say scientists working at the council for nuclear research. According to the standard model, when the Higgs particle self-interacts, it would create pairs or triplets of Higgs bosons, that are yet to be detected in the experiments.

3. Are there other Higgs particles?


The Higgs boson is an excitation of the all-pervading Higgs field that helps other particles pass through it and acquire mass. For this reason, it was nicknamed the God particle by the media, although some scientists refer to it as the Goddamn particle as it took so long and multi-billion dollars to find it.

The particle which was found in 2012 has zero spin and no electric charge. Theories alternate to the standard model predict the presence of more than one kind of God particle. Detection of additional Higgs particles in the collider experiments would mean that there must be new physics out there.

4. How does the Higgs interact with matter?


One thing scientists know for sure is that the more massive a given particle, the greater its interaction with the Higgs field must be. The nuances of this are yet to be understood even though the measurements thus far match the predictions of the standard model, the precision of these measurements isn’t great enough.

Models other than the standard model propose the existence of one kind of Higgs particle that interacts only with heavy particles and another that interacts with only lighter particles. Similar exciting challenges in particle physics await scientists working at the large hadron collider.

7 Funny Quotes By Physicist Wolfgang Pauli

quantum mechanics quotes wolfgang pauli physics quotes

Wolfgang Pauli was one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century who played critical role in the development of quantum mechanics. He won the Nobel Prize in 1945 after being nominated by Albert Einstein for the discovery of exclusion principle.

Pauli was infamous for his supposed tendency to cause equipment failure whenever he was around. Stories like, his new car failed during a honeymoon without apparent reason, and a cyclotron at Princeton University burnt in 1950 in his presence.


Once at a reception party, his colleagues decided to parody the Pauli effect by deliberately dropping a chandelier upon Pauli's entrance. But to everyone's surprise, the chandelier stuck instead, becoming yet another example of the Pauli effect.

Hence, Pauli was a really mysterious person whose proximity was disliked by experimental physicists. In this post, let us delve into interesting anecdotes and funny quotes of Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli, the most legendary scientist of the past century.

Prophet Dirac

In the 1927 Solvay conference, Paul Dirac said: If we are honest, and scientists have to be, we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination.

Wolfgang Pauli had kept silent. When asked for his opinion, Pauli jokingly replied: Our friend Dirac has a religion of his own and its guiding principle is, "There is no God and Dirac is His prophet." Everybody burst into laughter, including Dirac and Heisenberg.

paul dirac and wolfgang pauli physics
Dirac, Pauli

Elusive Neutrino

Pauli said in 1930: I have done a terrible thing. I have postulated a particle that cannot be detected. After proposing the existence of neutrino, an extremely light electrically neutral particle, that does not participate in the strong interaction and weak force is very short range, so it is very hard to find.

Trolling Heisenberg

Werner Heisenberg claimed to a journalist that Pauli and he had found a unified field theory, but just some technical details were missing. Pauli wrote in a letter, drawing a big rectangle, that "This is to show that I can paint like Titian. Only technical details are missing."

niels bohr werner heisenberg wolfgang pauli physics history quantum mechanics
Bohr, Heisenberg, Pauli

Parity violation

If a system behaves in the mirror image as it normally would, it is said to respect parity symmetry. In 1956, Chinese American physicist Chien-Shiung Wu discovered parity violation, leading Pauli to comment: "I cannot believe God is a weak left-hander!"

Bad science

Wolfgang Pauli was known for his colorful objections to careless thinking. When a colleague showed Pauli his paper, Pauli said after reading: This paper is not only not right; it is not even wrong. The phrase caught on to describe bad science or statements that don't satisfy falsifiability.

Why so serious?

Wolfgang Pauli recalled this incident. A person observed that Pauli was strolling aimlessly in the streets of Copenhagen, and said: You look very unhappy. Pauli replied seriously: How can one look happy when he is thinking about the anomalous Zeeman effect?

spectral line split zeeman effect wolfgang pauli physics

Pieter Zeeman discovered in 1896 the splitting of a spectral line into several components in the presence of a static magnetic field. For this discovery, he was awarded Nobel Prize in 1902.

On knowledge

Wolfgang Pauli was of the belief that there is no limit to knowledge. However, as one goes deeply into learning a subject, the ambiguity also increases, since every new answer might open the door to a hundred new questions.

Pauli said: "The best that most of us can hope to achieve in physics is simply to misunderstand at a deeper level." This means that at least we have reached a deeper level to be amazed and confused by the result, so it's worth something.

Why You Should Read The Order of Time

carlo rovelli book review the order of time physics books philosophy books time book

The nature of time has always been a source of mystery for scientists and philosophers. There is no concise answer to the question, What is time? On one hand, time is a physical quantity that can be measured, say, by the movement of the Sun.

On the other hand, time may be described as the measure of entropy, what distinguishes the past from the future, as entropy tends to increase with time giving it a particular direction.

This 250-pages book by renowned Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli discusses the various aspects of time and is probably the most succinct book ever written on the nature of time.

That feeling of growing old, the distinction between the past and the future, is there a universal time, what may be the origin of time, is it possible to travel in time, or to exist outside of it, what would a world without time be like; questions of such nature have been answered in the book, The Order of Time.

Carlo Rovelli is the founder of loop quantum gravity, which competes with string theory as a candidate for the theory of everything. In his book, Rovelli has charmingly simplified his work in order to explain to us ordinary folks what time is.

Rovelli has derived inspiration from anecdotes in his own life that elicit a bonding with the author; and thus Irish Times wrote: Physics has found its poet in Carlo Rovelli. It almost feels like Carlo is narrating an epic poem that he composed out of complex, theoretical physics.

The language used throughout the book is layperson friendly, subject matter is complimented by witty illustrations; all of this put together weave a beautiful picture of time in the manner such that you cannot put the book down but keep on reading on.

By the end, you may even wish to greet Carlo Rovelli in person and probably give him a warm grateful hug, because this is not just an ordinary physics book, his writing is like storytelling; there are ups and downs throughout the book, and much like in life it will make you cry on some pages and smile on other.

According to Ian Thomson from Observer, "Not since Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time has there been so genial an integration of physics and philosophy." Which is exactly the point but the difference though is that, while A Brief History of Time was a general guide to the universe with only one chapter dedicated to time, this book on the contrary is the complete package.

Benedict Cumberbatch, who is famous for having played characters like Sherlock, Doctor Strange, Hawking and Khan Noonien Singh, has recorded the audio version of the book in his iconic baritone voice. He said, "Time is something we think we know about instinctively; Rovelli shows how profoundly strange it really is!"

carlo rovelli the order of time benedict cumberbatch physics book
Source: Penguin

Carlo Rovelli has filled the gap of wanting to learn about time with his ground-breaking book. There are a great number of popular science books in the market but The order of time really stands out as it's likely the only book to teach about time in this much detail and friendliness.

Rovelli argues, that time is like an onion with many layers. To understand time, we must patiently uncover each layer one by one, so each chapter is devoted to that. When all the layers are gradually understood, the concept of time will no longer be the mystery that it is. But regardless of whether or not you are into physics, this book should definitely be on your list.

5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Marie Curie

marie curie quotes international women's day

Marie Curie was denied education in her native Poland because she was a woman. She had to attend a secret underground university to prove her merit. Times changed and Marie emerged as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century winning two Nobel Prizes in less than 10 years.

It was a period of very limited opportunities for women in all spheres, yet in an academic world that belonged to men Curie made an everlasting mark. Following are five inspiring quotes by Madame Curie that each teach you a valuable lesson in life.

1. To her two daughters – Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.

marie curie quotes international women's day

Irene and Eve grew up to be distinguished figures in their own fields. While Irene became famous for her scientific achievement, Eve worked for UNICEF providing help to mothers in the developing countries.

2. On curiosity – Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. If I see anything vital around me it is precisely this spirit of adventure, which seems indestructible and is akin to curiosity, that guides me.

According to Madame Curie: We only fear that we do not yet understand. Curie was exposed to Radiation in her scientific investigation of elements. Later on, she was exposed to X-ray when she served as a medical doctor during the first World War.

3. On scientific beauty – I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale.

All my life the new sights of nature made me rejoice like a little child. So we should not allow it to be believed that all scientific progress can be reduced to mechanisms, machines, gearings; even though such machinery also has its beauty.

4. On usefulness of science – We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was one of pure science. And this is a proof that scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it.

Apart from its medical application, Radium was increasingly used in industries such as timekeeping. The radium watch first produced in 1916 became a highly profitable commodity. However, Marie and her husband Pierre benefited little as they refused to patent their discovery of Radium.

5. On her wedding dress – I have no dress except the one I wear every day. If you are going to be kind enough to give me one, please let it be practical and dark so that I can put it on afterwards to go to the laboratory.

Marie and her husband Pierre came together through common love of science and research. They shared the Nobel Prize in 1903 in recognition of their extraordinary services to the study of radiation phenomena. For their honeymoon, Marie and Pierre took a bicycle tour around the French countryside in 1895.

marie curie and pierre curie, international women's day

One can know of her dedication to science by the fact that Curie survived on buttered bread and tea to be able to afford her education. Denied access in early years, she received her doctorate of science only at the age of 36. The way of progress is neither swift nor easy, Curie used to say.

Before her untimely death in 1934, Marie Curie founded the Radium Institute in 1932 as a specialized research institute and hospital. Hugely inspired by her drive and intellect, Albert Einstein said: Of all celebrated beings, Madame Curie is the only one whom fame has not corrupted.

10 Engineers Who Won Nobel Prize In Physics

top 10 engineers who won nobel prize in physics

It is not surprising that there are many engineers whose first passion is physics (or mathematics). However, under unavoidable circumstances, they end up doing engineering instead. For example: did you know that Paul Dirac's father wanted him to become an electrical engineer?

After graduating, Dirac was without job. He decided to shift his attention to his first love-physics and the rest is history. Today we know Dirac as one of the founders of quantum mechanics. So, even if you might be clueless in life right now, your passion will find you in the end.

John Bardeen

Bardeen is the only person in history to have won two Nobel Prizes in physics. He received his bachelor and master degrees in electrical engineering in 1928 and 1929 respectively from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

At first, John was employed by Gulf Oil corporation where he worked for four years. But he switched career by enrolling at Princeton University in 1933 to obtain a degree in mathematical physics. John went on to win Nobel Prizes in 1956 and 1972.

Henri Becquerel

top 10 engineers who won nobel prize in physics

Henri Becquerel was born into a family which produced four generations of physicists. He specialized in civil engineering at one of the most prestigious institutions in France. Becquerel was appointed as chief engineer at the Department of Bridges and Highways in 1894.

Around the same time he was investigating the properties of chemical elements. In 1896, he stumbled upon a new phenomenon that was named radioactivity by Madame Curie. The 1903 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Becquerel and the Curies.

Wilhelm Röntgen

Röntgen was a student of mechanical engineering at ETH Zurich. He was a contemporary of Becquerel... in fact, their ground-breaking discoveries were apart by only a few months. In 1895, Wilhelm produced very high energy waves called the x-rays, an achievement that earned him the inaugural Nobel Prize in 1901.


Eugene Wigner

Eugene Wigner was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1963 for contributions he made to nuclear physics, including the formulation of the law of conservation of parity.

Wigner enrolled at the Budapest University of Technical Sciences in 1920 but he was unhappy there and decided to drop out. In 1921, as guided by his parents, he joined the Technical University of Berlin where he studied chemical engineering.

Wigner accepted this offer because he was able to attend weekly conferences of the German Physical Society that hosted leading physicists of the time including Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg and Albert Einstein.

Paul Dirac

As mentioned before, Dirac studied electrical engineering at the University of Bristol. He graduated in 1921 but despite having a first class honors in engineering, he was unable to find work as an engineer in the post-war Britain.

top 10 engineers who won nobel prize in physics

Dirac again enrolled for a bachelor degree, this time in mathematics at the University of Bristol. He was allowed to skip a year as well as study free of charge because he was an exceptional student during his engineering years.


In 1923, Dirac once again graduated with a first class honors. Several years later, he became part of the quantum revolution that engulfed Europe. In 1928, Dirac predicted the antimatter which was discovered within few years by Carl Anderson in America.

Dennis Gabor

Dennis Gabor was a Hungarian-British electrical engineer and physicist who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1971 for the invention of Holography, a technique he created in 1948 to create photographic recording of a light field.

Jack Kilby

Kilby was an American electrical engineer who was one of the inventors of the integrated circuit, for which he won the Nobel Prize in 2000. Jack also invented hand-held calculator and thermal printer. He had completed bachelor and master degrees in engineering in 1947 and 1950 respectively.

Simon van der Meer

Dutch scientist Van der Meer was born in a family of teachers. He received an engineer's degree in 1952 from Delft University of Technology, which is the largest public university in the Netherlands. Simon joined CERN in 1956 and remained there until his retirement in 1990.

top 10 engineers who won nobel prize in physics

In 1984, he shared the Nobel Prize in physics with Italian physicist Carlo Rubbia for contributions to various projects at CERN that led to the discovery of the W and Z particles, which play a role in the weak nuclear force.

Shuji Nakamura

Nakamura was a Japanese-American electronics engineer who holds over 100 patents. He won the Nobel Prize in 2014 for the creation of blue laser diodes in the early 1990s that were later on used in the HD-DVD and blue-ray technologies.

Shuji Nakamura obtained his bachelor and master degrees in electronics engineering from the University of Tokushima in 1977 and 1979 respectively. Nakamura was also awarded a D.Eng. degree from the University of Tokushima in 1994.

Ivar Giaever

Ivar Giaever is a Norwegian-American engineer who shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in physics with Esaki and Josephson for their discoveries regarding electron tunneling. Giaever had earned a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering from the Norwegian Institute of Technology in 1952.
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10 Famous Physicists Who Played Chess

famous nobel prize winning physicists who played chess

Chess is a tactical board game that is enjoyed by professionals and hobbyists all over the world. It is well known that chess playing not only develops concentration but also improves memory. In this post, let us look at ten physicists who enjoyed the game of Chess.

Paul Dirac


Growing up, Dirac played Chess on the Sundays with his father. He learned it quickly and went on to become the president of chess club of St. John’s College, Cambridge. Paul Dirac also played chess with the Nobel Prize winning physicist friend Pyotr Kapitsa.

nobel prize winning physicists who played chess

Roger Penrose


He won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2020 for the work done on black hole singularities. His brother is the chess Grandmaster Jonathan Penrose. Their love for chess emerged thanks to their father Lionel Penrose who was a geneticist, mathematician and chess theorist.


Stephen Hawking


Hawking played chess just for fun with his youngest child, Timothy.

famous physicists who played chess
picture credit: pinterest

Albert Einstein


The renowned physicist was friends with German chess player and world champion Emanuel Lasker. In 1933, Oppenheimer played against Einstein in Princeton, USA and lost by resignation. Einstein was a good player but played very little chess.

Richard Feynman


American physicist Richard Feynman was drawn to chess in the high school. He was particularly interested in observing the chess gameplay. In one interview, Feynman said, in regards to physics: The gods are playing a great game of chess and the scientists are merely observers trying to figure out the rules of the game.


Werner Heisenberg


As a young boy, Heisenberg spent his free time in the evenings playing chess against neighborhood friends. His love of the game grew and became intolerable for teachers and professors. Especially Arnold Sommerfeld, Heisenberg's doctoral advisor, forbade him to play chess.

Edward Teller


Hungarian physicist Edward Teller learned to play chess from his father at the age of 6. Like his doctoral advisor Werner Heisenberg, Teller was also an avid chess player. Unfortunately, he could never beat Heisenberg at chess, though he was able to defeat Heisenberg in table tennis.

famous physicists who played chess
picture: ESVA

William Henry Bragg


He won the Nobel Prize in physics along with his son for their work in the analysis of crystal structure using X-rays. He was the secretary of the Adelaide University Chess Association.

Erwin Schrödinger


Erwin Schrödinger shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in physics with Paul Dirac. He once wrote "I do like chess, but it has turned out to be not the appropriate relaxation from the work I am doing."

Max Planck


German physicist Max Planck, who proposed the quantum theory, played chess with the world chess champion and mathematician Emmanuel Lasker.

Engineer Who Won Physics Nobel Prize Twice

john bardeen twice nobel prize winner physics superconductivity transistor

Winning the Nobel Prize once is no easy feat let alone winning it twice! The first ever person to do win the Nobel Prize twice was celebrated chemist and physicist Marie Curie as many of you might already know.

Similarly, John Bardeen has won the prestigious prize for physics not once but twice! If you ever watched The Big Bang Theory, a show in which engineering as a field is consistently made fun of, it might come off as surprising that Bardeen was an engineer by education and profession.


John Bardeen (1908-1991) completed his bachelor and master degrees in electrical engineering in 1928 and 1929 respectively. He was then employed by Gulf Oil Corporation where he worked for four years.

However, his love for physics was intact and urged him to go back to school. Therefore, he enrolled at Princeton University to study physics and mathematics in 1933.

There he wrote a thesis on solid-state physics under the guidance of Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner. After graduating in 1935, he was chosen as Junior Fellow at Harvard University, a position he held for three years.

In 1939, the second world war broke out and John could no longer facilitate his individual research interests. The big break came after the war in October 1945 when he started working at Bell Labs.


Along with colleagues William Shockley and Walter Brattain, John invented the first transistor in 1947. Their relationship, however, soured when Shockley tried to take most of the credit for the invention.

first transistor invented by john bardeen physics
Replica of the first transistor

Shockley prevented both Bardeen and Brattain from working any further on the transistor technologies. So, John left Bell Labs in 1951 and accepted an offer from the University of Illinois to study superconductivity.

In 1956, he shared the Nobel Prize in physics with Shockley and Brattain for their work on the transistor. Today, as you might know, most of computing technologies are unimaginable without the transistor.

When Bardeen brought only one of his three children to the prize distribution ceremony, the King of Sweden ridiculed him, to which Bardeen candidly replied: "Next time I will bring them all to Sweden."


In 1957, John wrote a theory of superconductivity along with Leon Cooper and John Schrieffer. It ushered a new era of transportation and medical technologies such as MagLev and MRI respectively.

15 years later, John kept the promise he made to the King of Sweden when he took his three children to the Nobel Prize distribution ceremony in 1972.

John stayed as a professor of engineering at University of Illinois until 1975. In 1983, Sony corporation, which owed much of its commercial success to inventions by John, created an honorary John Bardeen professorship at the university.

It's similar to the Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University, a chair founded in 1663 and held by icons like Newton, Dirac and Hawking.


In a 1988 interview, when Bardeen was asked to comment on religion, he said: "I am not a religious person and so do not think about it very much." John was a very humble scientist who donated much of his Nobel Prize money. He enjoyed hosting cookouts for neighbours who were unaware of his scientific achievements.

If you make a list of people – politicians, scientists, sportspersons, etc – who have had the greatest impact on the 20th century, John's name would certainly make it to the top ten. Because, without his work, none of the modern technologies would be possible.

10 Albert Einstein Quotes To Succeed In Life

albert einstein quotes that will help you in life motivational

Apart from making groundbreaking discoveries in physics, Albert Einstein also played the role of a motivational guru quite often. So, following are 10 Einstein quotes that will change your life.

1. Everyone sits in the prison of his own ideas; he must burst it open, and that in his youth, and try to test his ideas on reality. [Meaning: Don't keep delaying what you really want to do. Try it out for who knows what is possible?]

2. Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift. Never lose a holy curiosity for it has its own reason for existing. [Meaning: Every child is born curious. Keep your mind open to new adventures.]


3. Try to become not a man of success, but try rather to become a man of value. Because, only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile. [Meaning: Our relationships are just as important as goals.]

4. Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance you must keep moving. [Meaning: Enjoy the ride. Don't be afraid to fall.]


5. Don't think about why you question, simply don't stop questioning. Don't worry about what you can't answer, and don't try to explain what you can't know. [Meaning: Curiosity is a quality one must never let go of. Ask questions as they will lead you to life's answers.]


6. Blind obedience to authority is the greatest enemy of truth. [Meaning: Don't follow people blindly.]


7. The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think. [Meaning: Learn how to think, not what to think.]

8. I never think of the future. It comes soon enough. [Meaning: Live in the moment. Act now.]


9. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. [Meaning: Break the mould you were born into.]


10. If A is success in life, then A = x + y + z. Work is x, play is y and z is keeping your mouth shut. [Meaning: Work hard. Play hard. Stay humble.]

Who Was Lise Meitner?

lise meitner facts physics science chemistry

Lise Meitner was an Austrian-Swedish scientist known for her discoveries of the element protactinium and nuclear fission. She was praised by Albert Einstein as the "German Marie Curie" for her long-time association with both physics and chemistry. In this post, let's take a look at 10 most amazing facts about Lise Meitner.

Collaboration with nephew


Lise Meitner became a role model for her nephew, Otto Robert Frisch, who grew up becoming a physicist himself. Together, they hypothesized that the split of Uranium in two, explained the incredible energy release in "fission", a term Frisch coined.

Her role in World War I


Meitner was known for her compassion and modesty. During the World War I, when the situation required, she served as a nurse for two years. In 1916, she resumed her physics research.

Early education & PhD


Her earliest research work began at age eight, when she kept a notebook of her records underneath her pillow. She attended the University of Vienna at age 23 and became the second woman to receive a doctoral degree in physics in 1905.

Professorship & war


In 1926, Meitner accepted a post at the University of Berlin and became the first woman in Germany to become a full professor of physics. In 1938, at the start of World War II, she had to flee Nazi Germany due to her Jewish heritage.

Help by Bohr


Niels Bohr helped Lise escape Nazi Germany in 1938. She stayed with Niels and his wife, Margrethe Bohr, at their holiday house in Tisvilde, Denmark. Meitner fled to Sweden, where she lived for many years, ultimately becoming a Swedish citizen.

Manhattan Project


When the atomic bomb project was started in 1942, Meitner was offered a key position at Los Alamos Laboratory, but she refused to work on it, saying, "I will have nothing to do with the bomb!"

Dinner with President


Meitner was known all over the world, so much so, that many claimed her the female equivalent of Einstein. She was awarded "Woman of the Year" in 1946 by the National Press Club, Washington and also joined President Truman for dinner.

Chemical elements


In 1917, Meitner discovered a stable isotope of Protactinium along with chemist Otto Hahn. She also has a chemical element named after her, a radioactive synthetic element, called the Meitnerium.

Nobel Prize snub


Meitner was nominated 19 times for Chemistry Nobel Prize and 29 times for Physics Nobel Prize but never got the top honors. Despite that, she was invited to attend the prestigious Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in 1962.

Critical of friends


She was critical of her friends: Otto Hahn, Max von Laue and Werner Heisenberg, they who participated in Germany's nuclear bomb project. Their association prompted Einstein to write a letter to the-then American president Roosevelt to build a bomb of their own, before the Germans did.

Meitner wrote a letter to the three: "The reason I write this to you is true friendship. You all worked for Nazi Germany and did not even try to resist...What then must the English and Americans be thinking!?" 

After her death in 1968, her nephew Frisch composed the inscription on her gravestone, which read: "Lise Meitner: a physicist who never lost her humanity."

This Is How Dirac Predicted Antimatter

how did paul dirac predict antimatter dirac sea quantum mechanics

For those who don't know anything about English theoretical physicist Paul Dirac: he has often been compared to one of the fathers of physics, Sir Isaac Newton. Both were genius mathematicians; socially awkward; they made their greatest breakthroughs in their twenties; both held the Lucasian chair of Mathematics at Cambridge University.

But some may consider Dirac an even greater scientist due to many reasons. While Newton, in his day, became much involved with pseudosciences such as alchemy; he even attempted to reconcile science with faith through his writings. Paul Dirac, on the other hand, an outspoken agnostic, remained true to scientific path, and went on to make many significant contributions to the theory of everything.

Furthermore, while Newton was considered arrogant, too full of himself, who often made use of his authority to dismiss others' opinions. Dirac, on the other hand, was a lean, meek, shy young fellow, who suffered agonies if forced into any kind of small talk. He coined the term Fermion after Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, despite him having worked on the equation which governed the behavior of Fermions.

So that was a little background information on the man that was Paul Dirac. Unfortunately, he never was popularized enough, in fact, hardly anyone knows anything about who he was or what he did in his scientific career. Even so, his work is of primary importance to electronics, especially how electrons flow in the transistor, devices which form the building blocks of any modern-day computer.

What's more: his biggest discovery, prediction of anti-particle, has inspired numerous science fiction writers to create a mirror world in their stories, the collision of which with the real world, would lead to a whole lot of catastrophic activity in the lives of their characters. This is based upon Dirac's work that when matter and antimatter collide, they annihilate one another.

In the early twentieth century, Dirac, who had just completed his engineering degree, was unemployed. But this made him choose math as a career and thank goodness he did so! Because, a great quantum revolution was ongoing and Dirac, who had merely remained an observer, was keen on becoming a part of it.

Everybody at that time was talking about a young Austrian physicist named Erwin Schrödinger. He just had formulated wave mechanics, that is, an equation which explained the behavior of electron inside an atom. The wave equation, so it was called, gave the probability of finding the electron at any given point inside the atom.

Dirac realized that Schrödinger's wave equation was inconsistent with special theory of relativity. In other words, even though the equation was enough to describe the electronic motion at low velocity, it was yet unable to do the same at speeds approaching that of light. Dirac took this challenge upon himself to find a solution for it.

Unlike other physicists, those who insisted that revelations in physics be firmly grounded on experimental data, (and rightly so) Dirac relied heavily on mathematical consistency instead. To him, if the equation he found had mathematical beauty, then he just assumed that he was going on the correct path. This just goes on to show that Paul Dirac was more of a mathematician rather than a staunch physicist.

After many years, in 1928, Dirac modified the Schrödinger's equation to make it agreeable with Einstein's special relativity. His groundbreaking equation also defined the concepts of spin and magnetic moment of electron. While developing his equation, Dirac realized that Einstein's famous energy-mass relation, E=mc², was only partially right. The correct formula, he claimed, should be E=±mc², the minus sign because one has to take the square root of E²=m²c^4, which was a subtle correction indeed.

But then, according to an axiom of physics, matter particles always tend to the state of lowest energy - for stability. Therefore, the negative sign in E=mc² would imply that all the electrons tumble down to infinitely large negative energy. That is, an electron in a positive energy state (bound or free) should be able to emit a photon and make a transition to a negative energy state. This process could continue forever giving off an infinite amount of light!

Clearly, that isn't the case in the actual, stable universe; real electrons do not behave in such a way. So it made Dirac think of a solution to the problem: he proposed a theoretical model called the Dirac Sea in which he imagined that all the negative energy states were already occupied, meaning, that an electron in positive state could not tumble down to negative energy (since according to Pauli's exclusion principle, no two electrons could share a single energy state).

If a particle of this negative energy sea is given sufficient energy it is possible for it to rise into a positive energy state. A resulting "hole" would be created in the negative energy sea. This hole should have the same mass as the original electron but behave like a positively-charged particle.


Dirac wrote in 1931, after being suggested by Oppenheimer, that this hole was an anti-electron; a re-combination with electron should annihilate both of them. Because, when the electron comes into contact with the hole it spontaneously fills the hole and consequently must release the excess energy that went in.

In 1932, while examining the composition of cosmic rays, high-energy particles that move through space at nearly the speed of light, American physicist Carl Anderson discovered the positron. He observed that a particular particle in the ray behaved out of the ordinary. The trajectory suggested that it had to be positively charged but at the same time 1/1,836 the mass of a proton, exactly that of an electron.

In his 1933 Nobel Prize lecture, Dirac suggested that particle-antiparticle should be a fundamental symmetry of nature. He interpreted the Dirac equation to mean that for every particle there existed a corresponding antiparticle, exactly matching the particle mass but with opposite charge. In 1955, antiproton was discovered by University of California, Berkeley physicists.

The success of Dirac equation shows that a mathematical result can manifest itself in the real world. Paul Dirac had once said, "If you are receptive and humble, mathematics will lead you by the hand." That is pretty much true; his work has been described fully on par with the works of Newton, Maxwell, and Einstein before him. Dirac was undoubtedly a genius.
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