Richter, Burton

Richter, Burton rĭkˈtər [key], 1931–2018, American physicist, b. New York City, Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1956. A professor at Stanford, Richter designed and built a particle accelerator (Stanford Positron-Electron Asymmetric Ring) with the help of David Ritson and the support of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. With it he discovered (1974) a new subatomic particle called a psi-particle (now called a J/psi meson); the particle also was discovered independently and nearly simultaneously by Samuel Ting using a different method. The particle, which consists of a charm quark–anticharm quark pair, also led to to the confirmation of the existence of a fourth quark, charm. Richter and Ting were jointly awarded the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work. From 1984 to 1999 Burton headed the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, where he oversaw the building of the Stanford Linear Collider and later redirected the center's work from particle accelerators toward high-energy X-ray lasers and astrophysics. He wrote Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Climate Change and Energy in the 21st Century (2010), an explanation of climate change for nonscientists.

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