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Old Aug 8th 2009, 04:45 AM   #1
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Funny quote

I just came across a very funny quote. From the Nobel Lecture of Willis Lamb http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/p...mb-lecture.pdf
When the Nobel Prizes were first awarded in 1901, physicists knew
something of just two objects which are now called elementary particles : the electron and the proton. A deluge of other elementary particles appeared after 1930; neutron, neutrino, μ meson, π meson, heavier mesons, and various hyperons. I have heard it said that the finder of a new elementary particle used to be rewarded by a Nobel Prize, but such a discovery now ought to be punished by a $10,000 fine.
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Old Aug 8th 2009, 09:37 PM   #2
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A long story.
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Old Aug 8th 2009, 10:20 PM   #3
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Honestly, not funny.
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Old Aug 9th 2009, 12:01 AM   #4
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Thanks . That was hilarious.
I think someone mentioned that particle physics is turning into something like stamp collection; primarily classification. (Sorry if i ruffled any feathers out there!)
One point of view is that as one proceeds towards a more fundamental understanding of nature, one intiutively expects the diversity to coalesce into one eventually e.g. Grand Unification Theory etc. It is thus felt that when the infinite diversity in nature could be at least partly understood by 100 odd elements, this was a good develeopment. From there on to understanding these elements in terms of 3 ; electron, proton,neutron was even better , but that subsequently particle physics veered off course and it turned into a free for all.
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Old Aug 11th 2009, 02:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by physicsquest View Post
Thanks . That was hilarious.
I thought so too. It reminds me of the way things can happen can be tiringsometimes in physics and Lamb reflected it quite well in that humerous remark. I can imagine Lamb saying Oh man! Just when I thought we had it all figured out!
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