Gell-Mann (gèl´män´), Murray
American physicist. He won a 1969 Nobel Prize for his study of subatomic particles.
Gell-Mann, Murray (1929- ), American physicist, noted for his classification of subatomic elementary particles and his proposal of the existence of quarks. Born in New York City, Gell-Mann was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in physics. In 1963 he and his colleague George Zweig independently advanced the quark theory; they hypothesized that quarks- particles carrying fractional electric charges- are the smallest particles of matter.
MURRAY GELL-MANN, “Today the network of relationships linking the human race to itself and to the rest of the biosphere is so complex that all aspects affect all others to an extraordinary degree. Someone should be studying the whole system, however crudely that has to be done, because no gluing together of partial studies of a complex nonlinear system can give a good idea of the behavoir of the whole.”
quark (kwôrk, kwärk) noun
Any of a group of hypothetical elementary particles having electric charges of magnitude one-third or two-thirds that of the electron, regarded as constituents of all hadrons.
[Possibly from Three quarks for Muster Mark!, a line in Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.]
Word History: “Three quarks for Muster Mark!/Sure he hasn’t got much of a bark/And sure any he has it’s all beside the mark.” This passage of James Joyce’s _Finnegans Wake_ is part of a scurrilous 13-line poem directed against King Mark, the cuckolded husband in the Tristan legend. The poem and the accompanying prose are packed with names of birds and words suggestive of birds, and the poem is a squawk, like the cawing of a crow, against King Mark. Thus, Joyce uses the word quark, which comes from the standard English verb quark, meaning “to caw, croak,” and also from the dialectal verb quawk, meaning “to caw, screech like a bird.” But Joyce’s quark was not what it has become: “any of a group of hypothetical subatomic particles proposed as the fundamental units of matter.” Murray Gell-Mann, the physicist who proposed these particles, in a private letter of June 27, 1978, to the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, said that he had actually been influenced by Joyce’s word in naming the particle, although the influence was subconscious at first. Gell-Mann was thinking of using the pronunciation (kwôrk) for the particle, possibly something he had picked up from Finnegans Wake, which he “had perused from time to time since it appeared in 1939. . . . The allusion to three quarks seemed perfect” (originally there were only three subatomic quarks). Gell-Mann, however, wanted to pronounce the word with (ô) not (ä), as Joyce seemed to indicate by rhyming words in the vicinity such as Mark. Gell-Mann got around that “by supposing that one ingredient of the line ‘Three quarks for Muster Mark’ was a cry of ‘Three quarts for Mister . . .’ heard in H.C. Earwicker’s pub.”