Hellenica World


Burton Richter

Burton Richter (born March 22, 1931) is a Nobel Prize-winning American physicist. He led the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) team which co-discovered the J/ψ meson in 1974, alongside the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) team led by Samuel Ting. This discovery was part of the so-called November Revolution of particle physics. He was the SLAC director from 1984 to 1999.


A native of New York City, Richter was born into a Jewish[3] family in Brooklyn, and was raised in the Queens neighborhood of Far Rockaway.[4] His parents were Fanny (Pollack) and Abraham Richter, a textile worker.[5] He graduated from Far Rockaway High School, a school that also produced fellow laureates Baruch Samuel Blumberg and Richard Feynman.[6] He attended Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania, then continued on to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1952 and his PhD in 1956. He was director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) from 1984 to 1999.

As a professor at Stanford University, Richter built a particle accelerator called SPEAR (Stanford Positron-Electron Asymmetric Ring) with the help of David Ritson and the support of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. With it he led a team that discovered a new subatomic particle he called a ψ (psi). This discovery was also made by the team led by Samuel Ting at Brookhaven National Laboratory, but he called the particle J. The particle thus became known as the J/ψ meson. Richter and Ting were jointly awarded the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work.

Richter was a member of the JASON advisory group and serves on the board of directors of Scientists and Engineers for America, an organization focused on promoting sound science in American government.[7]


Burton Richter (1956). Photoproduction of Positive Pions from Hydrogen by 265 MEV Gamma Rays (PDF) (Thesis). Retrieved 2014-02-20.
MIT libraries Ph.D. Thesis record
Shalev, Baruch A. (2002). 100 Years of Nobel Prizes. The Americas Group. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-935047-37-0
Crease, Robert P.; Mann, Charles C. (October 26, 1986). "In Search of the Z Particle". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-02. "Burton Richter was born in Brooklyn 55 years ago, but grew up in Far Rockaway, Queens."
Schwach, Howard (April 15, 2005). "Museum tracks down FRHS Nobel laureates". The Wave. Retrieved 2007-10-02. "Burton Richter graduated from Far Rockaway High School in 1948."
"President Obama Names Scientists Mildred Dresselhaus and Burton Richter as the Enrico Fermi Award Winners". January 11, 2012.

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