American physicist. He won a 1969 Nobel Prize for his study of subatomic particles.
Gell-Mann, Murray (1929-
), American physicist, noted for his classification of subatomic elementary
particles and his proposal of the existence of quarks.
Born in New York City, Gell-Mann was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in physics.
In 1963 he and his colleague George Zweig independently advanced the quark
theory; they hypothesized that quarks- particles carrying fractional electric
charges- are the smallest particles of matter.
quark (kwôrk, kwärk)
Any of a group of hypothetical elementary particles having electric charges of magnitude one-third or two-thirds that of the electron, regarded as constituents of all hadrons.
[Possibly from Three quarks for Muster Mark!, a line in Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.]
Word History: "Three quarks
for Muster Mark!/Sure he hasn't got much of a bark/And sure any he has
it's all beside the mark." This passage of James
Joyce's _Finnegans Wake_ is part of a scurrilous 13-line poem directed
against King Mark, the cuckolded husband in the Tristan legend. The poem
and the accompanying prose are packed with names of birds and words suggestive
of birds, and the poem is a squawk, like the cawing of a crow, against
King Mark. Thus, Joyce uses the word quark, which comes from the standard
English verb quark, meaning "to caw, croak," and also from the dialectal
verb quawk, meaning "to caw, screech like a bird." But Joyce's quark was
not what it has become: "any of a group of hypothetical subatomic particles
proposed as the fundamental units of matter." Murray Gell-Mann, the physicist
who proposed these particles, in a private letter of June 27, 1978, to
the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, said that he had actually
been influenced by Joyce's word in naming the particle, although the influence
was subconscious at first. Gell-Mann was thinking of using the pronunciation
(kwôrk) for the particle, possibly something he had picked up from
Finnegans Wake, which he "had perused from time to time since it appeared
in 1939. . . . The allusion to three quarks seemed perfect" (originally
there were only three subatomic quarks). Gell-Mann, however, wanted to
pronounce the word with (ô) not (ä), as Joyce seemed to indicate
by rhyming words in the vicinity such as Mark. Gell-Mann got around that
"by supposing that one ingredient of the line 'Three quarks for Muster
Mark' was a cry of 'Three quarts for Mister . . .' heard in H.C. Earwicker's