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Particle Physicists Share the Physics Nobel

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the wave-physicists-get-it-simultaneously dept.

Announcements 67

somegeekynick writes "The 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics has been jointly awarded to Yoichiro Nambu of the University of Chicago 'for the discovery of the mechanism of spontaneous broken symmetry in subatomic physics,' and Makoto Kobayashi of the KEK lab and Toshihide Maskawa of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics, both in Japan, 'for the discovery of the origin of the broken symmetry which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature.'"

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w00t (2, Funny)

Poltras (680608) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285223)

Grats boys! Phat loot.

Re:w00t (1)

Poltras (680608) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285253)

Disclaimer: this is not a troll. I just wanted to congratulate two of the great researchers of our time. These discoveries changed our views of sub-atomic particles. Good job!

Re:w00t (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 5 years ago | (#25286031)

Most of the time I still resort to see subatomic particles as simple, shiny, spheres....

Re:w00t (2, Insightful)

TheNecromancer (179644) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285271)

How do you know they are "boys"? Japanese names are hard (for non-Japanese) to determine the gender just by reading them.

Sexist!

Re:w00t (1)

Poltras (680608) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285289)

How do you know they are "boys"? Japanese names are hard (for non-Japanese) to determine the gender just by reading them.

Sexist!

Unless I magically happened to know them (not necessarily personally)? Or I made some research. Or I know how male and female japanese names are differentiated. Or D) all of the above.

Re:w00t (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285425)

Or I know how male and female japanese names are differentiated.

You might want to add a "usually" to that sentence. I know a Chihiro whose parents didn't think it was strictly a female name.

Re:w00t (1)

Poltras (680608) | more than 5 years ago | (#25287471)

Would you put an "usually" about english names too? Cause there are male and female Kim and Alex.

In every language, there are dual-gender names. The fact that these are the exception rather than the rules is what made me say it that way.

Gender naming (2, Interesting)

mrproper07 (1048092) | more than 5 years ago | (#25296277)

In Romania, all female name end in "A", and all male names don't. In Soviet Romania, name genders YOU.

Re:w00t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25294075)

> I know a Chihiro whose parents didn't think it was strictly a female name.

Sen would have made a much better name.

(This joke won't make any sense unless you know that the Japanese name of 'Spirited Away' was 'Sen to Chihiro' and that the two are not translations of each other.)

Re:w00t (1)

Bill Currie (487) | more than 5 years ago | (#25299309)

Actually, the Japanese title is "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi". Also, "Spirited Away" and "Kamikakushi" are reasonable translations of each other. As a translation of the title, "The Spiriting Away of Sen and Chihiro" is a bit of a mouthful for us poor westerners.

As a side explanation, "Sen" another reading for the character used for the "Chi" in "Chihiro" (the one character that stayed on the contract when Yubaba took the others).

Geez, I despise romaji...

Re:w00t (4, Funny)

rugatero (1292060) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285335)

Sure is one ugly woman... [wikipedia.org]

Re:w00t (1)

Saffaya (702234) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285737)

Yoichiro and Toshihide are typically male first names.
Makoto is dual gender.

Re:w00t (1, Funny)

afabbro (33948) | more than 5 years ago | (#25286421)

How do you know they are "boys"

Because they're physicists.

Re:w00t (2, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 5 years ago | (#25289463)

World-class physicists.

chea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25285251)

i got stacks of them nobel prizes in my closet.

Speaking of broken symmetry... (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285259)

If the prize money doesn't divide up exactly, how do they work out who keeps the spare krona?

Re:Speaking of broken symmetry... (1)

whimmel (189969) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285319)

Fission!

Re:Speaking of broken symmetry... (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285665)

A fight to the death, with choice of either a flintlock pistol, sword, or smiths hammer.

Re:Speaking of broken symmetry... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25285831)

Did you forget particle beam?

Re:Speaking of broken symmetry... (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#25286375)

Come on, it'd have to be a fight to the death in a ring with various ancient weapons in a spacey theme... wait, no, that was Star Trek...

Am I the only one that thinks (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285265)

sharing prizes on subatomic particles studies is ironic???

Re:Am I the only one that thinks (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285771)

[Am I the only one that thinks] sharing prizes on subatomic particles studies is ironic???

Maybe you are, maybe you are not. We won't know until someone observes your post, thus collapsing the waveform...

Re:Am I the only one that thinks (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25289375)

Maybe you are, maybe you are not. We won't know until someone observes your post, thus collapsing the waveform...

But do waveforms truly collapse ? For anyone else, you and the post you observed are a single system, with a certain probability that you have observed a waveform collapsing into yes and a certain probability that you've observed it collapsing into no. They wouldn't observe any waveform collapse before you tell them of which way it went.

Re:Am I the only one that thinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25294029)

Pigs and sheep! Sheeps and pigs! Shigs and peeps!

Re:Am I the only one that thinks (1)

badkarmadayaccount (1346167) | more than 5 years ago | (#25303165)

This actualy makes sense when you... I need to get out more.

Re:Am I the only one that thinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25286297)

I remember this time of year well, back in my ALEPH days, working for Sau Lan Wu, who felt she deserved a Nobel for "her" gluon work. The days after the prize were announced were the worst, as she'd be crankier than usual.

Re:Am I the only one that thinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25296307)

Perhaps if by "ironic" you mean "made entirely of iron".

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25285301)

No wikipedia links?

Curious (4, Interesting)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285333)

It's interesting that they should award a Nobel for particle physics now, when there's a very real possibility that discoveries at the LHC will make an outstanding case for another within just a few years. Normally they won't award two prizes to the same field in a short timeframe. I'm glad that they didn't take that into account and deny these worthy winners, and I hope that it doesn't impact on any decisions in the near future.

Even more curious... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25285497)

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=77268 [wnd.com]

that Obama's henchmen would detain Jerome Corsi without cause, right before he was about to release some information that might be damaging to Obama. Between this, Obama telling his supporters to get in peoples' faces, his Truth Squads threatening prosecution against pretty much anyone criticizing him on the airwaves in Missouri, and homeless people being driven to polling places and being told to vote for Obama in Ohio, it's pretty clear that there's a darker side to Obama that his media chorus doesn't want to get out.

Re:Curious (5, Insightful)

j-beda (85386) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285533)

Nobel prizes (at least in physics - I don't follow the others as much) often tend to lag the discoveries for a fairly large number of years, and they try to go for things that are widely accepted. Fr example Einstein got it in 1921 for work published in 1905 on the Photoelectric Effect, Leggett's 2003 prize was for work done in the 1980s I think, and Kilby's prize in 2000 was for the integrated circuit obviously done more than a few years earlier. If the LHC has any Nobel prize fallout, it will not hit for at least a decade.

Re:Curious (3, Insightful)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285809)

I know that, and some of the work for which this year's was awarded was done back in the 60s. But so was Higg's, and he will be the major recipient of the prize if the LHC finds his boson and he lives long enough. It's at least plausible that the first results demonstrating it will be found in two years, in which case the prize could conceivably be awarded in five or six.

Not for experimental particle physics. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25285987)

Theory is one thing, experiment another. (it's quite relevant due to the wording in Nobel's will)

Prizes to experimental discoveries, in particular anticipated ones, can come quite quickly.

CERN's last Nobel, to Carlo Rubbia, was in 1984 for a discovery (W and Z bosons) made the previous year.

If the LHC discovers the Higgs boson, a Nobel prize within short order is almost certain.

Re:Curious (1)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 5 years ago | (#25286035)

That's usually true, but not always the case- a good example of a Physics Nobel that did not lag its associated discovery long was when Carlo Rubbia led a team at CERN which discovered the W and Z bosons in 1983, and then was awarded the Nobel for that work in 1984.

Re:Curious (2, Informative)

srjh (1316705) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285587)

They also tend not to award prizes so soon after the discoveries (the prize for medicine this year was for discovering HIV almost 30 years ago).

Part of the requirement of receiving a Nobel prize is living long enough after your work to be recognised for it (they are not awarded posthumously).

Re:Curious (3, Interesting)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285591)

It's interesting that they should award a Nobel for particle physics now, when there's a very real possibility that discoveries at the LHC will make an outstanding case for another within just a few years.

Even if the LHC changes how we view the subatomic world, their contributions can't be denied. I even think that it was on purpose: knowing that the LHC will make more discoveries worthing of a Nobel, they decided to award it now, as not to award again on an even shorter period of time.
I'm not sure if I agree with the Committee politics of awarding the prizes after many years, "to let the theory settles", although I agree it is a good way to avoid things like the cold fusion. But I'm sure whoever finds the Higgs using the LHC will be awarded the Nobel 10 years later.

Nambu ok, but... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25285415)

The Nobel prize to Yoichiro Nambu is highly deserved, but the other two are not really. It should have gone to Nicola Cabibbo, their work is just a multidimensional generalization of his model.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa_matrix

Re:Nambu ok, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25285487)

MOD parent up, know what he is talking about

Re:Nambu ok, but... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285635)

Mod parent up, please. He's exactly right.

Re:Nambu ok, but... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25285989)

Not exactly. The prize was awarded "for the discovery of the origin of the broken symmetry which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature", that is, for realizing that CP-violation can only take place if there are at least three families of fermions.

Cabibbo made a theory of quark flavours with two families (predicting the charm-quark). Kobayashi and Maskawa found out that with two families there is no CP-violation, and that one needs a third quark family. This last reason is the one which the comitee mentions.

Whether Cabibbo should be awarded a price for the prediction of the charm-quark is another story.

Re:Nambu ok, but... (1)

entgod (998805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25286517)

I'm really not very informed on this stuff but parent seems informative. Why is it modded down? Is it just plain wrong or is this mod point abuse in action?

Re:Nambu ok, but... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25290269)

Cabibbo did not predict the charm quark. Glashow, Iliopoulos, and Maiani did.

What Cabibbo did was to express the relationship between [down, strange] strong eigenstates and [down, strange] weak eigenstates by means of a 2x2 rotation matrix, characterized by a rotation angle (known as the Cabibbo angle, which is around 13 degrees). Useful, but not Nobel-prize stuff. What Kobayashi and Maskawa did was not simply to change from two to three. They used Cabibbo's germ of an idea to describe the entire weak hadronic sector.

If anyone else deserved to have shared their prize, it would have been Lincoln Wolfenstein, whose parametrization of the CKM matrix greatly increased both its conceptual power and its accessibility to experimental analysis.

Re:Nambu ok, but... (1)

Cristiano (822944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25287509)

I agree with you, but I am quite biased because I was one of Cabibbo's student 28 years ago. It was nice to read that he did not make any comments about it. He is a true gentleman!

Schrodinger would be proud (or not) (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285531)

I guess that they'll both be winners until someone observes the vote tally and collapses the waveform.

Re:Schrodinger would be proud (or not) (1)

dosun88888 (265953) | more than 5 years ago | (#25288857)

This comment is undervalued.

Re:Schrodinger would be proud (or not) (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 5 years ago | (#25291979)

In reply to your sig... yes: "Microsoft Security"

hands-on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25285541)

wow, they used the theory to
spontaneously break the price a-symmetrically. neat-o

Bose anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25285833)

As an Indian, its kinda disheartening that Bose didn't get the Nobel.

And Gandhi too...(obv. for peace...not physics)

Re:Bose anyone? (4, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#25286065)

As an Indian, its kinda disheartening that Bose didn't get the Nobel.

Well, Satyendra Nath Bose died in 1974... one of the rules of the Nobel prize that they don't break is that it only goes to living scientists, so they were hardly likely to give the 2008 prize to him. (The dead scientists can't appreciate the honor, so it makes sense to give it to them while they're alive.)

Re:Bose anyone? (4, Funny)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25289283)

The dead scientists can't appreciate the honor, so it makes sense to give it to them while they're alive

I go around giving people preemptive Darwin Awards for just this reason...

Re:Bose anyone? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25286253)

Bose had bad luck. He only had one big, Nobel-worthy work (Bose-Einstein statistics).. but it came about during a generation when there were quite a lot of great discoveries being made in Physics. But Raman did get one, so Indian physicists of that generation aren't entirely unrepresented.

Gandhi was as much a given prizewinner as anyone, but his tragic death came too shortly after independence.

Re:Bose anyone? (2, Funny)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25290203)

Dude, please, no Nobel for crappy stereo.

Re:Bose anyone? (3, Interesting)

esonik (222874) | more than 5 years ago | (#25291819)

Half of the particles are named after Bose. I think that's a much better deal than getting a price that will be forgotten in a few hundred years.

What's with the shared prizes? (1)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25285931)

IIRC, the biology prize reported earlier was shared between two different teams as well. Now, this is the first time I've really looked this closely at the Nobels, so is this typical?

Re:What's with the shared prizes? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25285959)

There is no prize in biology.

Re:What's with the shared prizes? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25286557)

When biology works it's biology. When biology doesn't work, it's medicine.

Re:What's with the shared prizes? (1)

jmtpi (17834) | more than 5 years ago | (#25287755)

The bundling together of unrelated discoveries is weird, and I feel like it diminishes the impact of the prizes a bit in the public eye. (Instead of explaining one seminal discovery to the public, you have to explain two, and make it clear that they are not even related.) If anything, Nambu should have received his own prize, and then KM could have shared one with Cabibbo. But there are only a finite number of years, and particle physics only gets a prize at all every few years, so it is hard to reward all of the deserving subjects (if not people) without this type of bundling.

Yeah, but if the LHC kills us all... (2, Funny)

davido42 (956948) | more than 5 years ago | (#25286163)

... then this will be the LAST prize in subatomic particle physics! So maybe they're hedging their bets.

IMO, the prizes should almost always be shared. Nobody works in a vacuum* --they are all building on the work of the rest of the community. Seriously, the number of scientists who understand this stuff is vanishingly small*!

* Wow, the comedy just writes itself...

Re:Yeah, but if the LHC kills us all... (2, Funny)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | more than 5 years ago | (#25286507)

How appropriate then that the last prize be awarded to Kobayashi as well, if that no-win scenario takes place.

Re:Yeah, but if the LHC kills us all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25286675)

* Wow, the comedy just writes itself...

No my friend it really doesn't.

Re:Yeah, but if the LHC kills us all... (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25287573)

Actually, it does. But it all sucks.

Re:Yeah, but if the LHC kills us all... (1)

fyoder (857358) | more than 5 years ago | (#25288979)

Stephen Hawking doesn't get a Nobel if a black hole is produced which swallows the earth. If a black hole is produced which behaves according to his theory and disappears lickety-split due to Hawking radiation [wikipedia.org] , he could get a Nobel. He's not getting his hopes up [bbc.co.uk] though, predicting less than 1% chance of producing any kind of black hole at all.

Safe to put the 80's economic framework to bed. (-1, Offtopic)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25286727)

I've always been bothered that the USA could not be bothered to invest in its own LHC or better fusion system or do more to foster education in the sciences.

I think now that the bailout has put government economic intervention firmly back on the table and for the next generation, Republicans use their support for NASA as a springboard to try and get out in front and ask that government make investments in basic sciences so that American industries can reap the benefits down the road. Democrats are always going to push for federal spending for the disenfranchised over spending for business expansion, so, its only natural that Republicans become the party of building an America that is productive while the Democrats become the party of building an America that is livable.

Kobayashi Nambu (1)

DrPeper (249585) | more than 5 years ago | (#25290067)

Wouldn't this be a Kobayashi Nambu Scenario??

Re:Kobayashi Nambu (1)

DrPeper (249585) | more than 5 years ago | (#25307147)

Ahhh C'mon....StarTrek Reference...Kobayashi Maru Scenario...nothing??!

Huh? (1)

Redpill82 (1366625) | more than 5 years ago | (#25290727)

I have no idea what was just said.
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