By Gian Francesco Giudice
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Additional resources for A Zeptospace Odyssey, A Journey Into The Physics Of The LHC
Yukawa, “Tabibito” (The Traveler), World Scientific, Singapore 1982. 46 | A Z E P T O S PA C E O D Y S S E Y force – argued Yukawa – can act at any distance and has an infinite range, simply because the photon has no mass. But if the photon, which is the mediator of the electromagnetic force, had a mass, then the force would act only at short distances. Thus – concluded Yukawa – the particle that mediates the strong force must be heavy, and this explains why the force between protons and neutrons acts only at nuclear distances.
Sophocles12 The story of the discovery of the weak force starts on a cloudy Parisian day in February 1896. Henri Becquerel (1852–1908, Nobel Prize 1903) was engaged in experiments on phosphorescence. He wrapped 12 Sophocles, Œdipus Coloneus. FORC E S OF N A T U R E | 37 a photographic plate inside a thick layer of black paper, and arranged on top of it a metallic object – a medal shaped like a Maltese cross. Finally, he placed on top of everything a sheet of potassium uranyl sulfate, a uranium salt prepared by him.
De Broglie, GauthierVillars, Paris 1912. 36 | A Z E P T O S PA C E O D Y S S E Y rewarded with the Nobel Prize not for relativity – his best-known theory – but for his explanation of the photoelectric effect. In the confusing results of the photoelectric effect, quantum mechanics was showing its true nature as a theory that defies common intuition. Physicists had to resign themselves to the idea that, in quantum mechanics, the familiar concepts of particle and wave are intrinsically ambiguous and not mutually exclusive.