Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Announcements Science

Particle Physicists Share the Physics Nobel 67

Posted by timothy
from the wave-physicists-get-it-simultaneously dept.
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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Particle Physicists Share the Physics Nobel

Comments Filter:
  • w00t (Score:3, Funny)

    by Poltras (680608) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @09:42AM (#25285223) Homepage
    Grats boys! Phat loot.
    • by Poltras (680608)
      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

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

      Sexist!

      • by Poltras (680608)

        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.

        • by pjt33 (739471)

          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.

          • by Poltras (680608)

            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.

      • Re:w00t (Score:5, Funny)

        by rugatero (1292060) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @09:50AM (#25285335)
      • by Saffaya (702234)

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

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by afabbro (33948)

        How do you know they are "boys"

        Because they're physicists.

  • If the prize money doesn't divide up exactly, how do they work out who keeps the spare krona?
  • sharing prizes on subatomic particles studies is ironic???

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @10:19AM (#25285771) Homepage Journal

      [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...

      • by ultranova (717540)

        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.

  • Curious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pjt33 (739471) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @09:50AM (#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.
    • Re:Curious (Score:5, Insightful)

      by j-beda (85386) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @10:03AM (#25285533) Homepage
      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 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by pjt33 (739471) on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @10:21AM (#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.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        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.

      • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by srjh (1316705)

      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Leafheart (1120885)

      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 th

  • Nambu ok, but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @09:55AM (#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

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

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

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 07, 2008 @10:31AM (#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.

      • by entgod (998805)
        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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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 h

    • by Cristiano (822944)
      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!
  • I guess that they'll both be winners until someone observes the vote tally and collapses the waveform.
  • 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: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There is no prize in biology.

    • by jmtpi (17834)

      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

  • ... 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: (Score:3, Funny)

      How appropriate then that the last prize be awarded to Kobayashi as well, if that no-win scenario takes place.
    • by fyoder (857358) *

      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.

  • I have no idea what was just said.

Whatever is not nailed down is mine. Whatever I can pry up is not nailed down. -- Collis P. Huntingdon, railroad tycoon

Working...