The discovery of the W and Z bosons was considered

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The discovery of the W and Z bosons was considered

Post by jancancook on Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:35 am

The discovery of the W and Z bosons was considered a major success for CERN. First, in 1973, came the observation of neutral current interactions as predicted by electroweak theory. The huge Gargamelle bubble chamber photographed the tracks of a few electrons suddenly starting to move, seemingly of their own accord. This is interpreted as a neutrino interacting with the electron by the exchange of an unseen Z boson. The neutrino is otherwise undetectable, so the only observable effect is the momentum imparted to the electron by the interaction.
The discovery of the W and Z bosons themselves had to wait for the construction of a particle accelerator powerful enough to produce them. The first such machine that became available was the Super Proton Synchrotron, where unambiguous signals of W bosons were seen in January 1983 during a series of experiments conducted by Carlo Rubbia and Simon van der Meer. The actual experiments were called UA1 (led by Rubbia) and UA2 (led by Peter Jenni),[7] and were the collaborative effort of many people. Van der Meer was the driving force on the accelerator end (stochastic cooling). UA1 and UA2 found the Z boson a few months later, in May 1983. Rubbia and van der Meer were promptly awarded the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physics, a most unusual step for the conservative Nobel Foundation.[8]

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