Planck E PressCenter Articles

The Master and Strangeness

Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Date published: 2023-09-18
Date modified: 2023-09-18
Reading time: 00:01:22

Author: Patrizia Tomasi-Bensik

The Master and Strangeness

“Everything that is not forbidden is compulsory.”

Murray Gell-Mann


Murray Gell-Mann was one of the great geniuses of quantum mechanics.  Obviously, the man was a genius.  I dare to limit him -only in this article, I promise- to the dimension of quantum mechanics to better explain what he proposes.

Gell-Mann possessed the three pillars that guarantee a good genius:  a huge IQ, a huge curiosity, and a huge ego.  And perhaps curiosity is what separates genius from good and evil.  Yes.  Curiosity is directed outward, toward the world, toward people.  It is easy to notice that from their own perspective, there is no life beyond two centimeters from their belly buttons, in egotistical geniuses.

Gell-Mann spoke 13 languages.  No accent.  He knew every animal species that lived in 1930s New York, which he shared with his brother Ben.

But this is an article about quantum mechanics.  How much it was invented, imagined, and created, by geniuses.  And from there, as it materialized, it made sense, it explained so much, and it allowed us a lot.

And Gell-Mann knew it.  He never took himself seriously.  Neither himself as a scientist nor anything else related to science.

Gell-Mann called the particle he invented -because there was an imbalance between the masses of protons and neutrons in the atomic nucleus- a quark.  Why did he do this? Because he found the best sentence in the strangest book ever published, The Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce.

What is the sentence? Three quarks for Muster Mark.  And that's not all:  Whenever anyone referred to his creation, he demanded that they pronounce quark with a Dublin accent.

Murray's quarks have color and flavor.  In addition to charge, spin, and isospin.  Thanks to Gellman, high-energy particles have parity, which Murray called...weirdness.

Maybe the genius was just showing us his reflection.  Gell-Man had a lot of color.  He had a lot of flavor.

Weird, right?

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