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Origin of terminology (baryon number, hypercharge, strangeness)

  1. May 17, 2008 #1
    I'm doing some research on the history of particle physics from 1947-1964, and have been completely unable to find an answer to this question -- does anyone know when and by whom terms such as baryon number and hypercharge were introduced?

    A related question...Several of my sources cite a 1953 article by Gell-Mann ("Isospin and New Unstable Particles," Physical Review 92 p. 833) as the origin of the term "strangeness." But the term is never mentioned in this article, and it would seem that the article doesn't regard strangeness at all, unless I am confused. Any thoughts about this?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 17, 2008 #2


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    I have no references to any of this, but just my best guess.

    I am pretty sure GellMann did indeed coin the word strangeness.
    I want to say Hypercharge comes from Heisenberg.

    Baryon number.... Wow, that would be hard b/c its such obvious terminology. No clue.
  4. May 17, 2008 #3


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    Baryon came from the Greek for heavy. Baryon number was a reasonable extension.
    Gell Mann possibly coined strangeness in a lecture. He liked to introduce colorful terminology that way. The early terminology for the new particles was "strange", but also "curious".
    Strange won out.
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