Particle physics began when there was widespread doubt in the existence
of atoms, and the quantum of Planck and Einstein was yet unimagined. For
a time, particle physics was part and parcel of the quest for an understanding
of atoms and nuclei, especially their quantum nature. Only after fifty years
did it emerge as a clearly defined sub-field of physics. The path from the
beginnings of particle physics in the 1890's to the precise confirmation
of the Standard Model in the 1990's is a revealing illustration of how science
advances. Paths at the frontier of science are rarely straight. Along the
way, brilliant insights, new experimental tools, and hard-won new data are
accompanied by confusion, wrong turns, conservative dogma, or wrong experiments.
This report chronicles the history of particle physics from its beginnings in gas discharges and in radioactivity to the present day with citations of virtually all the significant papers, both experimental and theoretical, right and wrong.
|In these pages one can see the story unfolding through its many contributors and can comprehend the immense progress in our understanding of the basic constituents and forces in Nature. These triumphant 100 years of particle physics are in many ways comparable to the preceding century of electromagnetism from Cavendish, Coulomb, and Franklin to Faraday, Maxwell, and Hertz.|