See biography by G. Johnson (1999).
(born Sept. 15, 1929, New York, N.Y., U.S.) U.S. physicist. He entered Yale University at 15 and earned his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1951. From 1955 he taught at the California Institute of Technology, becoming Millikan professor of theoretical physics in 1967. In 1953 he introduced the concept of “strangeness,” a quantum property that accounted for decay patterns of certain mesons. In 1961 he and Yuval Ne'eman (b. 1925) proposed a scheme (the “Eightfold Way”) that grouped mesons and baryons into multiplets of 1, 8, 10, or 27 members on the basis of various properties. He speculated that it was possible to explain certain properties of known particles in terms of even more fundamental particles, or building blocks, which he later called quarks. He was awarded a 1969 Nobel Prize.
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