Wednesday, August 08, 2007

2007 Dirac Medal Goes To Charm-Quark Physicists

The 2007 Dirac Medal has been awarded to two physicists who played a major role in predicting the existence of the charm quark - John Iliopoulos of Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and Luciano Maiani of the Università degli Studi di Roma.

The charm quark was predicted in 1970 by Iliopoulos and Maiani when, with future Nobel laureate Sheldon Glashow, they formulated the now-famous “GIM mechanism” in an attempt to understand the weak interaction. This quark - the fourth predicted to exist - is now known to have a positive charge of two-thirds of that of an electron.


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