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Physics History

  1. Aug 10, 2009 #1
    One of my professors told me a story about a physicist and I can't remember who it was. It's driving me crazy. This is what I remember about the story.

    Apparently this physicist was a new faculty member and he had a seemingly brilliant plan for some experiment. All of the older faculty members got behind him and helped him build the experiment. There was a lot of hype, but the experiment ultimately did not produce the expected results. One of the older faculty told this younger physicist that "the way things are is always more interesting than the way we thought they were", or something to that extent.

    The physicist in the story is famous, maybe a Nobel Prize winner later in life, but I just can't remember who it was about and what the experiment was. I googled the quote, but it must be worded differently or something.

    If anyone has any ideas, I would love to know.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2009 #2


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    Homework Helper

    Now it's driving me crazy, too. I vaguely remember hearing about that. I immediately thought of Rutherford, or one of his students rather, but I can't find anything about unexpected experimental results. I'll keep looking a bit.

    Other thoughts: maybe something to do with the muon or pion, or maybe Feynman.

    Maybe solar neutrino deficiency. I'm still looking (and going quite mad).
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
  4. Aug 11, 2009 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    I googled your quoted string, and got two hits. The first hit was to this PF thread of yours (not a surprise), and the 2nd hit was to the Compton Effect:


  5. Aug 11, 2009 #4
    Yes, that link is perfect! I never tried googling the exact quote because I assumed my version of the quote was off, but I underestimated my own memory. It was definitely Compton. Here is a quote from the source cited above:

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