2010-01-19

Disappearing physicist?

I have never until today heard about Ettore Majorana, an Italian physicist who was a contemporary of Fermi. A new book about Majorana's life and mysterious disappearance is outright panned in Nature (last week, LINK) by Frank Close. While I certainly won't read the book under review, I can't help but be fascinated by this bizarre story, and may have to follow up with some additional reading.

3 comments:

rob said...

That's who my experiment's named after. http://majorana.npl.washington.edu/
Fermions can be one of either two types. Quarks and the charged leptons are all called Dirac particles, because they have separate anti-particles. Neutrinos, on the other hand, are neutral and might possibly be their own anti-particle. If they are, then they're Majorana particles.

.brian said...

I thought anti-neutrinos were different from neutrinos. How do you tell if they are their own anti-particle? This sounds made up.

robj137 said...

omg i'll cut you.

you hope to tell them apart by looking for a physical process called neutrinoless double-beta decay.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_beta_decay