Schwartz Melvin
Country United States
Category Physics
Year 1988

Schwartz Melvin, 1932 - 2006, Year won 1988, discovered the muon-neutrino, one of the universe's building blocks..

Melvin Schwartz was born in New-York in 1932. He studied physics at Columbia University, received his Ph.d. in 1958 and joined the staff as a notable lecturer and researcher.

Melvin Schwartz received the 1988 Nobel prize in physics, together with Leon Lederman and Jack Steinberger, “For the neutrino beam method and the demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons, through the discovery of the muon neutrino.”

The standard model of particle physics divides the elementary particles into two families: quarks and leptons. Until the end of the 1950’s only three leptons were known: electron, muon and neutrino. The neutrinos can be produced from either electrons or muons, and can turn back to be either one.

In 1960, scientists assumed the existence of two kinds of neutrinos: one that is associated with electrons and the other, which is associated with muons. However, they had much difficulty in establishing an empirical evidence to support their assumption.

In 1961 Schwartz and his colleagues executed the neutrino experiment that won them the Nobel prize. They used a muon originated neutrino beam, produced by high energy collisions in the Brookhaven accelerator. All the neutrinos reverted to being muons, not a single on turned into an electron; this proved that the neutrino observed in this experiment is a different kind of particle – a muon-neutrino.

The differentiation between electron-neutrino and muon-neutrino is of much theoretical importance. The electron and the electron neutrino are considered a “doublet”, two leptons that belong to the same generation. The muon and the moun-neutrino form another “doublet”, belonging to a different generation altogether.

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