Physics Timeline

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BBB        Before the Big Bang: In a vacuum state with no space and consequently no time, physical laws would not seem appropriate. However, the law that states matter can neither be created nor destroyed implies another state of matter, i.e. a state of pure energy unbound by space and time. The chance fluctuation indicated below for the beginning of the Big Bang would have occurred in this energy field. This occurrence could have been like the breaking of a dam, or a puncture that explodes a filled tire, or a bomb that violently explodes upon detonation. The resulting tiny bubble of space-time provided an outlet for the enormous energy latent in the pre-space-time state. This of course gives no account of how or where or why the initial pure-energy state came about. We may never know, but we can always speculate.
    (AR, 2/1/02)(AR, 9/10/10)

10-3 Sec    Quarks freeze into particles. (JST-TMC, 1983, p.157) According to the Standard Theory, all matter in the universe is made from different combinations of two types of sub-atomic particles. Fermions, such as electrons and quarks, are the bricks or fundamental building blocks of matter. A different type of particle, called bosons, are the mortar. Bosons are the carriers or forces like electromagnetism and gravity, which hold the bricks of our universe together. Peter Higgs postulated around 1970 that the Higgs boson, usually invisible, creates a field through which subatomic particles, such as quarks and electrons, pass. Experiments in 2001 found that muon spin modification in a magnetic field varied from that predicted by the Standard Model. When the temperature dropped below 1 trillion degrees or so, the Higgs field flipped on and some particles began interacting with Higgs bosons. In 2012 Nicholas Mee authored Higgs Force: The Symmetry-Breaking Force That makes the World an Interesting Place. Jim Baggott authored The Quantum Story: A History in 40 Moments.
    (LSA, Fall 1995, p.34)(SFC, 11/4/00, p.A14)(SFC, 2/9/01, p.A5)(Econ, 3/3/12, p.94)

490BC    Empedocles (d.430BC), Greek philosopher, was born. He is best known for being the originator of the cosmogenic theory of the four classical elements. An important idea in ancient Greek philosophy is that "Nothing comes from nothing", so that what exists now has always existed, since no new matter can come into existence where there was none before. An explicit statement of this, along with the further principle that nothing can pass away into nothing, is found in Empedocles (ca. 490430 BCE): "For it is impossible for anything to come to be from what is not, and it cannot be brought about or heard of that what is should be utterly destroyed."
    (Econ, 2/7/09, p.72)(

1642        Dec 25, (OS) Isaac Newton (d.1727), English physicist, mathematician and scientist, was born in Woolsthorpe (Grantham), Lincolnshire, England. He enunciated the laws of motion and the law of gravity [see Jan 4, 1643].
    (V.D.-H.K.p.205)(HN, 12/25/98)(

1643        Jan 4, (NS) Sir Isaac Newton, scientist, was born. He developed the laws of gravity and planetary relations [See Dec 25, 1642].
    (HN, 1/4/01)(

1661        Jun 5, Isaac Newton was admitted as a student to Trinity College, Cambridge.

1665-1666    Over a span of 18 months Isaac Newton invented calculus, explained how gravity works, and discovered his laws of motion. This period came to be called his annus mirabilis.
    (Econ, 1/1/05, p.59)

1676        Isaac Newton wrote: If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.
    (Econ, 8/7/04, p.64)

1687        Jul 5, The first volume of Isaac Newton's "Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica" ("Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy") was published in Latin by Edmund Halley. His invention of differential and integral calculus is here presented. Here also are stated Newtons laws of motion, that obliterated the Aristotelian concept of inertia. 1) Every physical body continues in its state of rest, unless it is compelled to change that state by a force or forces impressed upon it. 2) A change of motion is proportional to the force impressed upon the body and is made in the direction of the straight line in which the force is impressed. 3) To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction. Book Three of the Principia opens with two pages headed "Rules of Reasoning in Philosophy." There are four rules as follows: 1) We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain the appearances. [A restatement of Ockhams Razor: "What can be done with fewer is done in vain with more."] 2) Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes. 3) The qualities of bodies which are found to belong to all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the universal qualities of bodies whatsoever. 4) In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true notwithstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions.
    (V.D.-H.K.p.207-10)(, 4/21/12, p.95)

1727        Mar 20, Sir Isaac Newton (b.1642), physicist, mathematician and astronomer, died in London. Michael White wrote the 1998 biography "Isaac Newton" in which he revealed Newtons passion for alchemy. In 2003 James Gleick authored the biography "Isaac Newton." In 2011 Edward Dolnick authored The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World. In 2014 Sarah Dry authored The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newtons Manuscripts.
    (AP, 3/20/97)(WSJ, 2/19/98, p.A20)(SSFC, 6/1/03, p.M1)(Econ, 3/12/11, p.99)(Econ, 6/21/14, p.81)

1745        Feb 18, Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (d.1827), Italian physicist, inventor (battery), was born.
    (AHD, 1971 p.1436)(

1745        Oct 11, The Leyden jar, capable of storing static electricity, was invented by German cleric Ewald Georg von Kleist. Also about this time Dutch scientist Pieter van Musschenbroek of Leiden (Leyden) independently came up with the same idea.
    {Physics, Germany, Netherlands}
    (ON, 2/12, p.11)(

1752        Jun 15, Benjamin Franklin and his son tested the relationship between electricity and lightning by flying a kite in a thunder storm. Some sources date this to June 10.

1753        Jul 26, New style date is Aug 6. Georg Richmann (b.1711), German physicist, died of electrocution in St. Petersburg, Russia, during an attempt to duplicate Benjamin Franklins sentry box experiment. Reportedly, ball lightning traveled along the apparatus and was the cause of his death, apparently the first person in history to die while conducting electrical experiments.
    (Econ, 3/29/08, p.104)(, 2/12, p.12)

1787        Carl Axel Arrhenius discovered the mineral ytterbite in Ytterby, Sweden. Two years later yttrium oxide was found in the sample and named. It took another 329 years for yttrium, a rare earth element, to be isolated from its oxide.
    (SSFC, 11/25/12, p.E7)

1800        Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), Italian physicist, first demonstrated the electric pile or battery.
    (V.D.-H.K.p.269)(Econ, 3/8/08, TQ p.22)

1810        Feb 24, Henry Cavendish (b.1731), British natural philosopher, died. He is noted for his discovery of hydrogen or what he called "inflammable air" (1766).

1818        Dec 24, James Prescott Joule (d.1889), British physicist, was born. Joule studied the nature of heat, and discovered its relationship to mechanical work. This led to the law of conservation of energy, which led to the development of the first law of thermodynamics.

1821        Thomas Johann Seebeck (1770-1831), Estonia-born German physicist, discovered that applying a temperature difference across two adjoined metals would give rise to a small voltage. This came to be called the Seebeck effect.
    (Econ, 9/6/08, TQ p.6)

1822        Jan 2, Rudolph J.E. Clausius (d.1888), German physicist (thermodynamics), was born.

1827        Mar 5, Alessandro Volta (b.1745), Italian physicist who made 1st battery (1800), died.

1843        Sep 19, Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis (b.1792), French engineer and mathematician, died. He showed that the laws of motion could be used in a rotating frame of reference if an extra force called the Coriolis acceleration is added to the equations of motion.

1853        German physicist Heinrich Magnus (1802-1870) first described the phenomenon, which came to be called the Magnus effect, whereby a spinning object flying in a fluid creates a whirlpool of fluid around itself, and experiences a force perpendicular to the line of motion and away from the direction of spin. According to author James Gleick (b.1954) Isaac Newton described it and correctly theorized the cause 180 years earlier, after observing tennis players in his Cambridge college.

1859        Gaston Plante, French physicist, invented the first rechargeable battery.
    (Econ, 3/8/08, TQ p.23)

1873        Ernst Abbe (1840-1905), German physicist, noted that a microscope cannot properly see any object smaller than half the wavelength of the light it uses.
    (Econ, 10/11/14, p.89)(

1877        Sep 11, James Jeans (d.1946), English physicist, mathematician and astronomer, was born. He was the first to propose that matter is continuously created throughout the universe.
    (HN, 9/11/00)(

1883        Sep 15, Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau (b.1801), Belgian mathematician and physicist, died. He was one of the first people to demonstrate the illusion of a moving image.

1902        Apr 20, Radium was isolated as a pure metal by Curie and Andr-Louis Debierne through the electrolysis of a pure radium chloride solution. Pierre and Marie Curie had discovered the element in 1898.
    (AP, 4/20/97)(

1892        Sep 10, Arthur Compton, physicist, was born in Wooster, Ohio.
    (HN, 9/10/00)

1898        Jul 12, Xenon, an inert substance, was discovered in England by the Scottish chemist William Ramsay and English chemist Morris Travers.
    (Econ, 2/8/14, p.76)(

1904         John William Strutt (1842-1919), 3rd Baron Rayleigh and British physicist, won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his investigations of the densities of the most important gases and for his discovery of argon in connection with these studies.

1905        Einstein presented his theory of relativity declaring that the very measurement of time intervals is affected by the motion of the observer. He proposed that light is itself quantized, or particle-like, to explain how electrons were emitted when light hit certain metals. He presented four papers, the first on Brownian motion, the second was on the composition of light, the third proposed the Special Theory of Relativity, and the fourth established the equivalence of mass and energy. Einstein presented 5 papers this year, one of which was titled Does the Inertia of a Body Depend on its Energy Content? This paper provided an incomplete proof of E=mc2, an equation that had already been know for a few years. In 2008 Hans C. Ohanian authored Einsteins Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius.
    (NH, 3/05, p.72)(, 9/5/08, p.A13)

1908        Heike Kamerlingh-Onnes, Dutch physicist, was the first to liquefy helium. He cooled helium gas to below its boiling point of -269C, just 4 degrees above absolute zero. Three years later he observed the resistance of mercury vanished when it was cooled by liquid helium, thus discovering superconductivity.
    (SFC, 10/10/96, p.A15)(Econ, 12/3/11, TQ p.20)

1914        Sep 7, James Alfred Van Allen, physicist, was born in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. He discovered and named the two radiation belts surrounding the Earth.
    (HN, 9/7/98)

1915        Nov 25, Albert Einstein first presented his "General Theory of Relativity" to a group of scientists in Berlin. General Relativity was presented to the Prussian Academy of Sciences over the course of four lectures. In 2000 David Bodanis authored "E=MC: A Biography of the Worlds Most Famous Equation."
    (, 11/26/96, p.A7)(SFEC, 10/22/00, Par p.23)(Econ, 11/28/15, p.70)

1916        May 11, Einstein's paper The Basis of the General Theory of Relativity was published.

1919        Jun 30, John William Strutt (b.1842), 3rd Baron Rayleigh and British physicist and Nobel Prize winner (1904), died in England. His work included the discovery of the phenomenon now called Rayleigh scattering, explaining why the sky is blue.

1919        Dec 28, Johannes Robert Rydberg (b.1854), Swedish physicist, died. He is mainly known for devising the Rydberg formula, in 1888, which is used to predict the wavelengths of photons (of light  and other electromagnetic radiation) emitted by changes in the energy level of an electron  in an hydrogen atom.

1921        Apr 2, Einstein (1879-1955) made his first visit to the US on a fundraising tour with Zionist leader Chaim Weizman. Prof. Albert Einstein lectured in NYC on his new theory of relativity. In 2007 Jurgen Neffe authored Einstein: A Biography; and Jozsef Illy edited Albert Meets America.
    (SSFC, 5/13/07, p.M6)(

1921        Albert Einstein, Germany-born physicist, won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect". His prize was announced and awarded in 1922.

1922        Danish physicist Niels Bohr won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his services in the investigation of the structure of atoms and of the radiation emanating from them.
1922        Carl Wieselsberger, German physicist, described a method of suspending models on an airstream, i.e. the ground effect.
    (Econ, 9/8/07, TQ p.12)(

1925        Wolfgang Pauli, Austrian physicist, discovered his exclusion principle. This says that two similar particles cannot exist in the same state, that is they cannot have both the same position and the same velocity, within the limits given by the uncertainty principle. Pauli postulated the existence of neutrinos in the 1930s.
    (BHT, Hawking, p.67)(SFC, 7/21/00, p.B2)

1927        Mar, J.W. Dunne (1875-1949), Irish engineer and author, published his essay An Experiment with Time on the subjects of precognition and the human experience of time. His theory suggested that in reality all time is eternally present, that is, that past, present and future are all happening together in some way. Human consciousness, however, experiences this simultaneity in linear form. It was very widely read, and his ideas were later promoted by several other authors, in particular by J. B. Priestley. Other books by J. W. Dunne are The Serial Universe, The New Immortality, and Nothing Dies.

1929        Ernest Lawrence invented the cyclotron at UC Berkeley.

1930        Physicists in Germany discovered the neutron. Walther Bothe and Herbert Becker described an unusual type of gamma ray produced by bombarding the metal beryllium with alpha particles. James Chadwick recognized that the properties of this radiation were more consistent with what would be expected from Ernest Rutherford's neutral particle. The subsequent experiments by which Chadwick proved the existence of the neutron earned him the 1935 Nobel Prize in physics.
    (ON, 8/09, p.7)(

1931        Ernest Lawrence tested the first cyclotron at UC Berkeley, Ca. The device measured 30cm in circumference.
    (Econ, 9/13/08, p.87)

1933        The Debye effect, the selective absorption of electromagnetic waves by a dielectric, due to molecular dipoles, became known. In 2009 the US Navy issued research grants to check whether tit could be used for submarine detection.
    (, 11/12/16, p.71)

1935        James Chadwick (1891-1974), British physicist, won the Nobel Prize in Physics.
1935        Frederic Joliot-Curie and Irene Joliot-Curie, French physicists, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

1939        Jan 25, The cyclotron of Nebraska-born nuclear physicist John R. (Ray) Dunning (31) produced nuclear fission for the first time in America in Room 128 of Columbia University's Pupin Physics Laboratory. Eugene T. Booth was a member of the experimental team which conducted the first nuclear fission experiment in the US; the other members of the team were Herbert L. Anderson, John R. Dunning, Enrico Fermi, G. Norris Glasoe, and Francis G. Slack.

1939        Aug 2, Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Roosevelt urging creation of an atomic weapons research program.
    (HFA, 96, p.36)(AP, 8/2/97)

1939        Sep 1, Physical Review published the 1st paper to deal with "black holes." UC Berkeley physicist Robert Oppenheimer (b.1904) spelled out the inevitable fate of a massive star.

1942        Sep 17, US Army Lt. Gen. Leslie R. Groves (1896-1970) made a temporary Brigadier General and was placed in charge of the Manhattan Engineer District, which became known as the Manhattan Project, the fledgling US atomic bomb program.
    (ON, 8/09, p.7)(

1942        Dec 2, A self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated for the first time at the University of Chicago. On the squash court underneath a football stadium of the University of Chicago, the first nuclear chain reaction was set off. At 3:45 p.m., control rods were removed from the "nuclear pile" of uranium and graphite, revealing that neutrons from fissioning uranium split other atoms, which in turn split others in a chain reaction. The reaction was part of the Manhattan Project, the United States' top-secret plan to develop an atomic bomb. The group of scientists was led by Enrico Fermi and they proved that building an atomic bomb would be feasible. Dr. Alexander Langsdorf was one of the designers of the first 2 nuclear reactors that followed the first sustained nuclear chain reaction at the Univ. of Chicago. The first and last atomic bombs ever used in war were dropped on Japan in 1945.
    (TMC, 1994, p.1942)(SFC, 5/26/96, p.C-10)(AP, 12/2/97)(HNPD, 12/2/98)

1943        Jan 7, Nicola Tesla (b.1856), Croatian born inventor and physicist, died In NYC. In 1996 Marc Seifer authored Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius.
    (SFC, 12/29/96, Z1 p.2)(, 3/7/09, p.W8)

1943        Jan, Construction began at Los Alamos, New Mexico, on a research facility for the Manhattan Project, the US atomic bomb program.
    (ON, 8/09, p.8)

1943        The Hanford nuclear reservation was constructed in Washington state for the Manhattan Project. Hanford made plutonium until the 1980s.
    (SFC, 4/10/99, p.A7)

1947        Apr 9, The US Atomic Energy Commission was confirmed. Physicist Robert Oppenheimer was appointed chairman of the General Advisory Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission.
    (MC, 4/9/02)(SSFC, 4/10/05, p.B2)

1947        Oct 4, Max Karl Ernst Planck (b.1858), German physicist (Nobel 1918), died.

1947        Freeman Dyson (1923-2020), England-born physicist at Cornell, published a paper on quantum electrodynamics (QED) that showed the mathematical equivalence of of two theories describing the behavior of electrons and photons.
    (SSFC, 3/1/20, p.B9)

1948        Lewis Fry Richardson, British physicist, authored a paper on the mathematics of war. He showed that the probability of wars having a particular number of casualties followed a mathematical relationship known as a power law. This was probably the first rigorous analysis of the statistics of war.
    (Econ, 7/23/05, p.74)(Econ, 4/2/11, p.76)

1951        Apr 26, Arnold Sommerfeld (b.1868), German theoretical physicist, died. He pioneered developments in atomic and quantum physics. His atomic model permitted the explanation of fine-structure spectral lines.

1955        Apr 18, Albert Einstein (76), physicist, died in Princeton New Jersey. Dr. Thomas Harvey, chief pathologist at Princeton Hospital, performed Albert Einsteins autopsy. He removed the brain and took it home. In 2000 Michael Paterniti authored "Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einsteins Brain." In 1999 it was reported that Einsteins inferior parietal lobe was larger than normal. In 2000 Amir D. Aczel published "God's Equation: Einstein, Relativity, and the Expanding Universe." [see Apr 15] In 1983 Abraham Pais (d.2000 at 81) authored "Subtle Is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein." In 2000 Dennis Overbye authored "Einstein In Love," on Einsteins 1st marriage with Mileva Maric. In 2002 Fred Jerome authored "The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoovers Secret War Against the Worlds Most Famous Scientist." In 2007 Walter Isaacson authored Einstein: His Life and Universe; Jurgen Neffe authored Einstein: A Biography; and Jozsef Illy edited Albert Meets America, a chronicle of Einsteins first visit to the US (1921) on a fundraising tour with Zionist leader Chaim Weizman.
    (AP, 4/18/97)(SFC, 6/18/99, p.A18)(SFEC, 1/9/00, BR p.4)(SFC, 8/1/00, p.B2)(WSJ, 10/20/00, p.W10)(SSFC, 3/18/01, BR p.6)(SFC, 9/15/02, p.M5)(WSJ, 4/6/07, p.B3)(SSFC, 5/13/07, p.M6)

1955        Oct 18, Ernest O. Lawrence, Univ. of California Radiation lab. director, announced the discovery of the existence of an anti-proton, an atomic particle postulated in 1928.
    (SFC, 10/14/05, p.F6)

1957        Bruno Pontecorvo, Italian physicist, suggested that neutrinos could come in different types, known to physicists as flavors. His hypothesis was proved in 1998 in Japan. Pontecorvo had defected to the Soviet Union seven years earlier.
    (Econ, 2/1/14, p.71)

1960        The JASON defense advisory group was established to advise the US government on matters of science and technology, mostly of a sensitive nature. Physicist Sidney Drell (1926-2016) was among the founding members.
    (, 12/25/16, p.C9)
1960        Donald A. Glaser (1926-2013) of UC Berkeley, inventor of the bubble chamber, won the Nobel Prize in Physics.
    (SFC, 10/10/96, p.A1)(SFC, 2/19/13, p.C6)

1964        Peter Higgs of the Univ. of Edinburgh postulated the Higgs boson, a particle responsible for mass. The Higgs mechanism, a way that the massless gauge bosons in a gauge theory get a mass by interacting with a background Higgs field, was proposed in 1964 by Robert Brout and Francois Englert, independently by Peter Higgs and by Gerald Guralnik, C. R. Hagen, and Tom Kibble. It was inspired by the BCS theory of superconductivity, vacuum structure work by Yoichiro Nambu, the preceding GinzburgLandau theory, and the suggestion by Philip Anderson that superconductivity could be important for relativistic physics.
    (SFC, 9/18/00, p.A6)(

1967        Feb 18, Robert Oppenheimer (62), theoretical physicist and leader of atomic bomb development, died. His work included outlining processes by which old stars of sufficient mass might collapse beyond the Schwarzschild radius and become black holes. Physicist John Wheeler named the phenomena black holes. In 2005 Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin authored American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Priscilla J. McMillan authored The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer. In n2013 Ray Monk authored Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center.
    (SFC, 12/19/98, p.C3)(SSFC, 4/10/05, p.B1)(SSFC, 7/31/05, p.F2)(SSFC, 5/26/13, p.F3)

1968        Aug 19, George Gamow (b.1904), physicist and writer, died. He popularized the idea of The Big Bang. His books included One, Two Three Infinity (1947).

1968        Oct 27, Lisa Meitner (b.1878), Austrian-born Swedish physicist, died in England. During the war while in hiding from Hitler in Sweden, she analyzed and understood for its significance the work of Otto Hahn who in 1944 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on nuclear fission.
    (MT, 10/94, letters, p.10)(

1969        Prof. Henry W. Kendall (1926-1999), American physicist and Nobel Prize winner (1990), helped establish the Union of Concerned Scientists. The initial focus of the organization was the opposition of nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants.
    (SFC, 2/17/99, p.C3)(

1973        Leo Esaki (b.1925), [Esaki Reona], Japanese-born physicist, won the Nobel Prize.

1974        Nov 11, Burton Richter and Samuel Ting found reported evidence for a fourth quark.
    (, May 1985, J. Boslough, p. 650)

1974        Canadas coast guard discovered resonance icebreaking.
    (Econ, 4/15/17, p.67)

1979        An electromagnetic field created by a beam of charged particles interacted with the accelerating radio-frequency cavity itself and came to be called the wakefield effect.
    (, 1/31/15, p.70)

1980        Paul Benioff of Argonne National Laboratory published the first of three papers showing that quantum computing is possible.
    ( 5/13/17, p.16)
1980        Dr. Clyde Wiegand (1915-1996), a nuclear physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, retired. In the 1970s he opened a field called keonic physics, wherein subatomic called k-mesons take the place of electrons in atoms.
    (SFC, 7/9/96, p.20)

1983        The General Conference on Weights and Measures defined the speed of light in a vacuum at 299,792,458 meters per second. This set the value of the meter as the path traveled by light in 1/299,792,458 of a second.
    (NH, 2/05, p.24)(Econ, 1/29/11, p.79)

1984        Oct 20, Paul Dirac (b.1902, British physicist and Nobel Prize winner (1933), died in Florida. His equations predicted the existence of antimatter. In 2009 Graham Farmelo authored The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac.
    (Econ, 1/24/09, p.89)(
1984        Oct, Simon van der Meer (1925-2011), Dutch physicist, and Carlo Rubbia (b.1934), Italian physicist, shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for contributions to the CERN project which led to the discovery of the W and Z particles, two of the most fundamental constituents of matter.
    {Nobel Prize, Physics}
    (Econ, 3/19/11, p.96)(

1985        Feb 3, Frank Friedman Oppenheimer (b.1912), American physicist, died. He had worked on the Manhattan Project, was a target of McCarthyism, and was later the founder of the Exploratorium in San Francisco (1969). He was the younger brother of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the first director of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

1985        David Deutsch of the Univ. of Oxford authored a paper that founded the quantum theory of computation.
    (Econ, 3/11/17, TQ p.9)

1986        Georg Bednorz and Alexander Muller, researchers at IBMs Zurich laboratory, discovered that that an exotic ceramic material behaved like a superconductor at 35K.
    (Econ, 12/3/11, TQ p.20)

1987        The Tevatron, a circular particle accelerator at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, went into operation as the highest energy particle collider in the world. In 2009 it was eclipsed by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Switzerland.

1988        Oct 19, Three West Germans were named winners of the Nobel Prize in chemistry; three Americans received the Nobel Prize in physics: Melvin Schwartz (1933-2006), Leon Lederman and Jack Steinberger won for their research into the innermost structure and dynamics of matter. They won for discovering the subatomic particle called the muon neutrino. In 2015 Lederman sold his Nobel Prize at auction for $765,002.
    (AP, 10/19/98)(SFC, 8/29/06, p.B5)(SFC, 5/30/15, p.A5)

1989        Caltech's Kip Thorne and colleagues theorized that general relativity permits wormholes, tunnels that cut across regions of space-time, and showed that with enough negative energy, they can be propped open.
    (WSJ, 11/21/03, p.B1)

1991        Princeton astrophysicist J. Richard Gott proposed that cosmic strings could warp space time enough to create paths to the past, called closed timelike curves. By 2017 one version of string theory posited the universe to have 11 dimensions, seven of which are beyond human ken.
    (WSJ, 11/21/03, p.B1)(Econ, 1/28/17, p.67)

1991        A dye-sensitized solar cell, also known as Gratzel cells, was invented by Michael Gratzel and Brian O'Regan at the cole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne. He pioneered research on energy and electron transfer reactions in mesoscopic-materials and their optoelectronic applications.

1993        In California Richard M. Diamond (1924-2007), nuclear chemist, and lab partner Frank Stephens developed and built the original Gammasphere at Berkeleys 88-inch cyclotron. It analyzed gamma rays emitted from atoms bombarded in high-energy nuclear accelerators.
    (SFC, 10/20/07, p.B5)
1993        Russell Hulse and Joseph Taylor won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of the first binary pulsar and for subsequent studies leading to a verification of the theory of general relativity for a system outside our solar system. In 1974 they recorded an indirect sighting of gravitational waves when they showed a pair of stars spiraling towards each other was radiating energy in the form of gravitational waves at exactly the same rate predicted by Einstein.
    (Econ, 6/24/06, p.94)(

1995        Oct 13, The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Polish-born British physicist Joseph Rotblat (1908-2005) and the Pugwash Conferences (begun in Canada in 1957) for their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international politics.
    (, 10/13/00)(SFC, 9/2/05, p.B5)(WSJ, 10/16/95, p. A1)

1996        Feb 27, It was reported that element 112, aka unumbium, was first made in Darmstadt, Germany, in an experiment led by Peter Armbruster.
    (Econ, 5/5/07, p.100)(

1998        Jun 4, A team of physicists from Japan reported that they had established that the subnuclear neutrino particles had mass. In an experiment called SuperKamiokande, they showed that muon neutrinos produced by cosmic rays hitting the upper atmosphere had gone missing by the time they should have reached an underground detector. This led them to suspect that the missing muon neutrinos had changed flavor through a process called oscillation, which required them to have mass. Their experiments showed that neutrinos spontaneously transform between three varieties (electron, muon and tau neutrinos) in a process known as oscillation.
    (SFC, 6/5/98, p.A1)(Econ, 4/8/06, p.77)(Econ, 6/28/14, p.69)

1999        In Canada the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) was set up at Waterloo, Ontario, by Mark Lazaridis, founder and co-CEO of Research In Motion. Lazaridis' initial donation of $100 million was announced on October 23, 2000.

2000        May 4, Hendrik Casimir (b.1909), Dutch physicist, died. He was best known for his research on the two-fluid model of superconductors (together with C. J. Gorter) in 1934 and the Casimir effect (together with D. Polder) in 1946.
    (Econ, 5/24/08, p.105)(

2005        Mar 6, Hans Bethe (b.1906), German-born peace worker and Nobel Prize winning physicist (1967), died in Ithaca, NY. In the 1930s Bethe, one of the greatest innovative theoretical physicists of our time, unraveled the mysterious nuclear cycles by which stars produce prodigious amounts of energy for billions of years without burning out.
    (SFC, 3/8/05, p.B5)(Econ, 3/19/05, p.90)

2005        Element 118 was created by a team from Livermore, Ca., and scientists at the Dubna heavy ion accelerator in Russia.
    (SFC, 4/8/10, p.C5)

2006        Oct 4, Professor Eugene Polzik and his team at the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University in Denmark reported a breakthrough in teleportation by using both light and matter.
    (Reuters, 10/4/06)

2007        Jan, Work began on the Intl. Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in Cadarache, France. 34 nations collaborated to realize the ITER project's First Plasma in November 2019. The project was born at the Geneva Superpower Summit in November, 1985.
    (Econ, 9/3/11, p.79)(

2007        Mar 20, Albert Baez (b.1912), Mexican-American physicist, died. In 1948 he and Paul Kirkpatrick co-invented the X-ray reflection microscope for the study of living cells. His books included The New College Physics: A Spiral Approach (1967), and the memoir A Year in Baghdad (1988). Baez was also the father of singers Joan Baez and Mimi Farina.
    (SSFC, 3/25/07, p.B3)

2007        Sep 24, Wolfgang K.H. Panofsky (b.1919), German-born Stanford physicist, died. He led the construction of the Stanford Linear Accelerator following approval by Congress in 1961.
    (SFC, 9/26/07, p.B7)

2007        Oct 31, Physicists at UC Berkeley said they had produced the worlds smallest radio out of a single carbon nanotube, 10,000 times thinner than human hair. They had it play Layla by Derek and the Dominos and said it could also function as a transmitter.
    (SFC, 11/1/07, p.C1)

2007        Walter Isaacson authored Einstein: His Life and Universe.
    (WSJ, 4/6/07, p.B3)

2008        Sep 10, In Geneva the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest particle collider, passed its first major tests by firing two beams of protons in opposite directions around a 17-mile (27-kilometer) underground ring in what scientists hope is the next great step to understanding the makeup of the universe. On Sep 19 it started leaking helium and had to be turned off. The technical problems delayed for at least two months the quest for scientists to learn more about the nature of the universe and the origins of all matter.
    (AP, 9/10/08)(AP, 9/20/08)(Econ, 9/27/08, p.96)

2008        Oct 7, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that two Japanese citizens and a Japanese-born American won the 2008 Nobel Prize in physics for discoveries in the world of subatomic physics.
    (AP, 10/7/08)

2008        Richard Muller, a physicist at UC Berkeley, authored Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines.
    (SSFC, 8/3/08, Books p.1)
2008        Leonard Susskind authored The Black Hole War: My Battle With Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics.
    (WSJ, 7/28/08, p.A13)
2008        Physicist Frank Wilczek, Nobel Prize winner (2004), authored The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces.
    (Econ, 9/6/08, p.98)
2008        The ATLAS particle detector at CERN, Switzerland, was completed.
    (Econ, 4/27/13, p.66)(

2009        Mar 16, Bernard dEspagnat (87), French physicist and philosopher, was named in Paris as the winner of this years $1.42 million Templeton Prize.
    (SFC, 3/17/09, p.A2)

2009        Jun 11, German researchers said a new, superheavy chemical element numbered 112, Ununbium, Latin for 112, will soon be officially included in the periodic table. A team in Darmstadt first produced 112 in 1996 by firing charged zinc atoms through a 120-meter-long particle accelerator to hit a lead target.
    (Reuters, 6/11/09)

2009        Jul 28, It was reported that scientists claimed to have created a form of aluminum that's nearly transparent to extreme ultraviolet radiation and which is a new state of matter.

2009        Nov 20, In Geneva, Sw., CERN scientists restarted the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) following more than a year of repairs. They were surprised that they could so quickly get beams of protons whizzing near the speed of light during the restart.
    (AP, 11/21/09)

2009        Nov 23, In Geneva the world's largest atom smasher made another leap forward Monday by circulating beams of protons in opposite directions at the same time and causing the first particle collisions in the $10 billion machine after more than a year of repairs.
    (AP, 11/23/09)

2009        Nov 30, In Switzerland the world's largest atom smasher broke the world record for proton acceleration Monday, firing particle beams with 20 percent more power than the American lab that previously held the record.
    (AP, 11/30/09)

2010        Jan, Scientists at Russias Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions announced internally that they had succeeded in detecting the decay of a new element with Z=117 using the reactions.
    (SFC, 4/8/10, p.C5)(

2010        Mar 30, In Switzerland scientists cheered the historic crash of two proton beams at the CERN Large Hadron Collider.
    (SFC, 3/31/10, p.A4)

2010        Jul 19, Physicist Gerson Goldhaber (b.1924) died at his home in Berkeley, Ca. He contributed to the 1955 discovery of the antiproton and to the discovery of the charm quark, later known as the J/psi particle (1974).
    (SFC, 7/22/10, p.C4)(

2010        Sep 2, The London Times published extracts of a new book by the eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in which he argues that God did not create the universe and the "Big Bang" was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics. "The Grand Design" was co-authored with US physicist Leonard Mlodinow.
    (Reuters, 9/3/10)

2010        Oct 5, Two Russian-born scientists shared the Nobel Prize in physics for groundbreaking experiments with ultrathin carbon. University of Manchester professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov used Scotch tape to isolate graphene, a form of carbon only one atom thick but more than 100 times stronger than steel, and showed it has exceptional properties, the strongest and thinnest material known to mankind.
    (AP, 10/5/10)

2010        Nov 17, Scientists at CERN reported that they have stored 38 atoms of the antimatter called antihydrogen for a tiny fraction of a second. The first antihydrogen atoms were made 15 years ago at CERN.
    (SFC, 11/18/10, p.A9)

2011        Jun 7, Dmitri Mendeleev's Periodic Table of Chemical Elements was augmented with two new entries elements 114 and 116. An international commission of scientists, comprised mostly of physicists and chemists, agreed to include the ultra-heavy chemicals in the Table.
    (SFC, 6/9/11, p.A6)(

2011        Sep 22, It was reported that CERN physicists have found that tiny particles called neutrinos are making a 454-mile (730-km) underground trip faster than they should, more quickly, in fact, than light could do. If the results are confirmed, they could throw much of modern physics into upheaval. Researchers in 2012 published papers that refuted the faster than light neutrino travel.
    (, 9/23/11, p.A5)(Econ, 3/24/12, p.82)

2011        Sep 30, The Tevatron particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, was shut down.
    (Econ, 10/1/11, p.85)(

2011        Oct 4, Three US-born scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics for overturning a fundamental assumption in their field by showing that the expansion of the universe is constantly accelerating. During the 1990s, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess found that the light from more than 50 distant exploding stars was far weaker than they expected, meaning that galaxies had to be racing away from each other at increasing speed.
    (AP, 10/4/11)

2011        Dec 13, Scientists at CERN, Switzerland, announced the possible discovery of the Higgs boson, a fundamental particle proposed by British researcher Peter Higgs in 1964.
    (Econ, 12/17/11, p.137) 

2011        David Deutsch, Oxford physicist, authored The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World.
    (Econ, 3/26/11, p.97)
2011        Hugh Aldersey-Williams authored Periodic Table: The Curious Lives of the Elements.
    (Econ, 2/5/11, p.96)

2012        Mar 24, It was reported that New Zealand scientist Sir Paul Callaghan (64) has died after a long battle with bowel cancer. He gained international recognition for his work in molecular physics.
    (AFP, 3/24/12)

2012        Jul 4, Physicists at CERN, Switzerland, said they had found a new sub-atomic particle consistent with the elusive Higgs boson which is believed to confer mass. We have discovered a boson, and now we have to determine what kind of boson it is." Finding the Higgs would validate the Standard Model, a theory which identifies the building blocks for matter and the particles that convey fundamental forces.
    (AFP, 7/4/12)

2012        Jul 31, Russian internet entrepreneur Yuri Milner announced that he will give $3 million each year to the most influential thinker in fundamental physics. Nine physicists received the first Breakthrough prizes this year.
    (Econ, 8/4/12, p.70)(Econ, 12/10/16, p.77)

2012        Oct 9, The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Serge Haroche (68) of France and American David Wineland (68) for experiments on quantum particles.
    (SFC, 10/10/12, p.A4)

2013        Mar 14, The newfound particle discovered at the world's largest atom smasher last year is, indeed, the Higgs boson, the particle thought to give other matter its mass, scientists reported today at the annual Rencontres de Moriond conference in Italy.
    (, 3/14/13)

2013        Jun 29, Italian astrophysicist Margherita Hack (95) died in the Adriatic Sea town of Trieste. She had explained her research on the stars in plain language for the public and championed civil rights.
    (AP, 6/29/13)

2013        Jul 19, In Switzerland the world's top particle physics lab said it had measured the decay time of a particle known as a Bs (B sub s) meson into two other fundamental particles called muons, which are much heavier than but similar to electrons. It was observed as part of the reams of data coming from CERN's $10 billion Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest atom smasher.
    (AP, 7/19/13)

2014        Apr 9, Stuart Parkin (58) won the Finnish 1 million-euro ($1.3 million) Millennium Technology Prize for discoveries leading to a thousand-fold increase in digital data storage on magnetic disks. The British-American physicist directed the IBM-Stanford spintronic science center in California.
    (AP, 4/9/14)

2014        Sep 30, Martin Perl (b.1927), Stanford physicist and Nobel Prize winner (1995) in physics, died at Stanford Hospital. His work helped discover the subatomic particle known as the tau lepton.
    (SFC, 10/2/14, p.D3)

2014        Oct 7, Two Japanese scientists and a Japanese-born American won the Nobel Prize in physics for inventing blue light-emitting diodes. Isamu Akasaki (85), Hiroshi Amano (54) and naturalized US citizen Shuji Nakamura (54) revolutionized lighting technology two decades ago when they came up with a long-elusive component of the white LED lights.
    (AP, 10/7/14)

2014        Nov 19, In Switzerland scientists at CERN, the world's largest smasher, said they have discovered two new subatomic particles never seen before that could widen our understanding of the universe. The new particles, which were predicted to exist, are both baryons made from three quarks bound together by a strong force.
    (AP, 11/19/14)

2014        Ray Jayawardhana authored Neutrino Hunters: The Thrilling Chase for a Ghostly Particle to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe.
    (Econ, 2/1/14, p.71)
2014        Heinrich Pas authored The Perfect Wave: With Neutrinos at the Boundary of Space and Time.
    (Econ, 2/1/14, p.71)

2015        Apr 5, In Switzerland CERN said the world's largest particle smasher has restarted after a two-year upgrade that will allow physicists to explore uncharted corners of the matter that makes up the universe.
    (AFP, 4/5/15)

2015        May 20, CERN scientists operating the world's biggest particle collider set a new energy record ahead of the massive machine's full restart in June. The Large Hadron Collider is located in a 27-km (16.8-mile) tunnel beneath the Swiss-French border.
    (AP, 5/21/15)

2015        Jul 14, CERN scientists said new kind of subatomic particle called the pentaquark has been detected for the first time. The existence of pentaquarks was first proposed in the 1960s by American physicists Murray Gell-Mann and Georg Zweig. Gell-Mann, who coined the term "quark," received the Nobel Prize in 1969.
    (AP, 7/14/15)

2015        Oct 6, The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Japanese researcher Takaaki Kajita and Canadian Arthur McDonald for discovering that tiny particles called neutrinos change identities as they whiz through the universe, proving that they have mass.
    (AP, 10/6/15)

2015        Simon Carnell and Erica Segre translated Carlo Rovellis work Seven Brief Lessons on Physics from Italian to English.
    (Econ, 10/24/15, p.79)

2016        Feb 11, Scientists at the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) announced the detection of the first gravitational wave recorded last September 14. It stemmed from the merger of two black holes some 1.3 billion years earlier. The LIGO project broke ground in Hanford, Washington in late 1994 and in Livingston, Louisiana in 1995.
    (, 2/13/16, p.77)

2016        Jun 2, Norway announced that nine scientists have won this years Kavli Prize for their work on gravitational waves.
    (SSFC, 6/5/16, p.C8)

2016        Nov 7, Robert N. Hall (b.1919, American physicist and inventor, died in Schenectady, NY. He worked his whole life at GE Global Research. His WWII design of a magnetron to jam enemy radar led to the development of the microwave oven. His first solid state laser in 1962 led to the development of bar-code scanners.
    (, 5/11/18, p.D4)

2016        Dec 25, Vera Rubin (b.1928), American astronomer, died in New Jersey. She transformed modern physics and astronomy with her observations showing that galaxies and stars are immersed in the gravitational grip of vast clouds of dark matter.
    (, 1/7/17, p.70)

2016        Owen Weatherall authored Void: The Strange Physics of Nothing.
    (Econ, 11/19/16, p.72)
2016        In Jordan a particle accelerator named the Sesame synchrotron, a particle accelerator, approached completion at a cost of $79 million.
    (Econ, 12/24/16, p.112)

2017        Mar 6, IBM released the first commercial program for universal quantum computers. Various startups have released their own quantum software.
    (Econ, 3/11/17, TQ p.10)

2017        May 9, In Switzerland Europes top physics lab CERN launched Linac 4, its newest particle accelerator, billed as a key step towards future experiments that could unlock the universe's greatest mysteries.
    (AFP, 5/9/17)

2017        Jun 14, American astrophysicists, whose work led to the ground-breaking detection of cosmic gravitational waves first predicted by Einstein, were awarded Spain's Princess of Asturias 2017 scientific research prize. The award went to American physicians Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish and to the LIGO Scientific Collaboration group of international astrophysicists.
    (AP, 6/14/17)

2017        Jul 6, Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider beneath the Swiss-French border, announced the fleeting discovery of a long theorized but never-before-seen type of baryon called Xi cc.
    (AP, 7/6/17)

2017        Oct 3, Rainer Weiss of MIT, Kip Thorne of CalTech and Barry Barish, also of CalTech, won this year's Nobel Physics Prize for their discoveries in gravitational waves.
    (AP, 10/3/17)

2018        Mar 14, British theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking (b.1942) died at his home in Cambridge. Even though his body was attacked by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, when Hawking was 21, he stunned doctors by living with the normally fatal illness for more than 50 years.
    (AP, 3/14/18)

2018        Feb 22, Richard Taylor (b.1929), Stanford physicist and Nobel Prize winner (1990), died at his home on the Stanford campus. He shared the prize for his role in the discovery of quarks.
    (SFC, 3/30/18, p.D5)

2018        Jul 18, Burton Richter (b.1931), Nobel Prize winner in Physics (1976), died at Stanford Hospital. He had designed that Stanford Positron Electron Accelerating Ring (SPEAR) and cajoling the US Energy Dept. into financing $6 million to build it.
    (SFC, 7/25/18, p.D2)

2019        Mar 19, Brazilian physicist and astronomer Marcelo Gleiser was awarded the 2019 Templeton Prize, worth $1.4 million, for his work blending science and spirituality. Gleiser, a professor at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, has written best-selling books and appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, discussing science as a spiritual quest to understand the origins of the universe and life on Earth.
    (Reuters, 3/19/19)

2019        May 20, Scientists, on the occasion of World Metrology Day, adopted new hyper-accurate definitions for units of weight, electricity and temperature derived from the universal laws of Nature. The kilogram will now be defined in terms of the Planck constant -- the ratio of a frequency of light, on the one hand, to the quantum energy of that frequency, on the other. Today also saw new definitions adopted for the ampere -- the rate of electrical current flow; the kelvin -- the base unit of temperature; and the mole -- the unit measuring the amount of a given substance.
    (AFP, 5/20/19)

2019        May 24, Murray Gell-Mann (89), Nobel Prize winning physicist (1969), died at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He authored "The Quark and the Jaguar" (1994) to present his ideas to a general audience.
    (SFC, 5/27/19, p.C3)

2019        Jul 27, John Robert Schrieffer (88), a physicist who shared in the 1972 Nobel Prize in physics for developing a pioneering theory of superconductivity, died at a nursing facility in Tallahassee.
    (AP, 7/27/19)

2019        Oct 8, Canadian James Peebles (84) and Swiss scientists Michel Mayor (77) and Didier Queloz (53) won the physics prize for their work in understanding how the universe has evolved from the Big Bang and the blockbuster discovery of a planet outside our solar system.
    (AP, 10/8/19)

2020        Oct 6, Three scientists were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics today for their work on understanding black holes, which the committee called one of the most exotic phenomena in the universe. The prize was awarded half to Roger Penrose of Britain for showing how black holes could form and half to Reinhard Genzel of Germany and Andrea Ghez of UCLA for discovering a supermassive object at the Milky Ways center.
    (NY Times, 10/6/20)(SFC, 10/7/20, p.A6)

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