Murray Gell-Mann was born in 1929 in New York. He received his PH.D. degree in Physics in 1951 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T). In 1951, he transferred to the California Institute of Technology, where he engaged in the research of elementary particles.
In 1969, Gell-Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics “for his contributions and discoveries concerning the classification of elementary particles and their interactions”.
During the 1950’s, along with the development of particle accelerators, more elementary particles were discovered. In 1961, Gell-Mann proposed a classification system that can organize the numerous particles into categories, thereby introducing an order to the sub-atomic world.
His revolutionary achievement was his hypothesis regarding the existence of quarks, the foundation elements comprising all the elementary particles that are affected by strong interactions, such as proton and neutron. Furthermore, Gell-Mann postulated the existence of gluons, particles that supposedly bind the quarks together.
For these achievements, Gell-Man is considered one of the greatest physicists of our time.
Salvador Luria was born in Turin, Italy, in 1912. After receiving his degree in medicine, he moved to Paris where he was engaged in research at the Pasteur Institute until France fell to the Germans in 1940. He then emigrated to the United States and was appointed, in 1959, professor of microbiology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In 1969, Salvador Luria was awarded the Nobel prize for medicine and physiology “for his discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and genetic structure of viruses”.
In the 1940’s, Luria and his co-recipient of the Nobel prize, Max Delbruck, conducted a series of experiments on bacteriophages, viruses that attack bacteria. The results of these experiments where an important contribution to the understanding of viral and bacterial genetics, and indicated that DNA was a decisive factor in heredity.
Luria’s later work demonstrated additional genetic processes connected with the transfer of hereditary material between various organisms, thus paving the way for the meteoric rise of genetics in the following decades.
Salvador Luria died in 1991.