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Melvin Schwartz

Schwartz, Melvin, 1932–2006 American physicist, b. New York City, Ph.D. Columbia, 1958. He was on the faculty at Columbia (1958–66, 1991–2000, emeritus 2000–2006) and Stanford (1966–83). Schwartz established and ran his own software development business, Digital Pathways, between 1970 and 1991, when he rejoined Brookhaven National Laboratory as a researcher (1991–97). He had conducted research at Brookhaven from 1955 to 1963 and worked as research scientist there (1956–58). Schwartz was awarded the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics with Leon Lederman and Jack Steinberger for their development of the neutrino beam method in the 1960s and their use of the method to make discoveries about elementary particle physics. The researchers used the high-energy neutrinos to study the weak interaction, or force—one of the four fundamental forces of nature and the most difficult to observe—and in doing so confirmed the existence of two types of neutrinos, the electron neutrino and the previously unknown muon neutrino. This led to the development of a new scheme for classifying families of subatomic particles.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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