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An accidental prediction: The saga of antimatter's discovery

By Phoebe Yeoh

From the Faculty Nominator:

Modern Physics (e.g. Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Particles and  Nuclei) covers some of the strangest and most fascinating aspects of the world in which we live.  To supplement the survey of these subjects that we undertake in Phy 220, the Department of Physics and Astronomy also asks each student to write an in-depth research paper on a topic they find particularly interesting.  Science often progresses the most through accidental discoveries while investigating completely unrelated phenomenon.  Phoebe Yeoh ('15) wrote an exquisite review of how a fortunate sequence of experimental accidents validated the purely-mathematical expectation that for every known particle, an anti-particle existed.  I am exceptionally pleased that it is now available to the Verge readership.

From the author:

For my Modern Physics class, we were required to write a final paper on a topic of choice.  I chose to explore the discovery of antimatter.  As I wrote the draft, I felt both fascinated and overwhelmed.  The story and the science behind it were exciting, but understanding their beauty required a lot of background knowledge.  How could I explain a semester's worth of modern physics to a general audience, all within the span of a 10-page paper?  I tried my best to distill complicated concepts into precise ideas and sentences, and hope that my finished work conveys the excitement I feel about antimatter's discovery - and physics in general - to readers.  
 

Read: An accidental prediction: The saga of antimatter's discovery

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