George Zweig, a Renaissance Man
    By Tommaso Dorigo | December 23rd 2013 05:36 AM | 2 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Tommaso

    I am an experimental particle physicist working with the CMS experiment at CERN. In my spare time I play chess, abuse the piano, and aim my dobson...

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    I met George Zweig at a conference in Crete last Summer. He impressed me with the multidisciplinarity of his interests and his quite entertaining career. He has a degree in mathematics, and did quite a bit of experimental physics work before finally turning to theoretical physics; but he did not stay there for long...

    But I do not want to summarize more of the interesting life of Zweig, since there is now an interview with George on the online newsletter of the physics department of CERN, which is quite detailed and fascinating, and deserves a read. Enjoy!


    Zweig said that Van Hove "wouldn't allow ... to send a paper to the Physical Review ... deliberately and systematically tried to keep my work fom public view ...".

    John Moffat in his book "Cracking the Quantum Code of the Universe" said "... Gell-Mann ... had initially submitted his quark paper to Physical Review Letters but it was rejected ... he then phoned ... Van Hove editor ... Physics Letters B ... Van Hove was dismissive and didn't think it was a good idea for Gell-Mann to sumit the paper for publication. However, Gell-Mann did, and it was accepted and published by Physics Letters B ...".

    Does that mean that collaboration outsiders have an advantage over collaboration insiders who hold views not shared by collaboration bosses ?

    Also, even if Van Hove had allowed Zweig to send his paper to Physical Review, would it not have most likely been rejected as was Gell-Mann's paper ?


    Hello Tony,

    to a certain extent the collaborators are the first reviewers of your work, and if they do not want their name on a paper they can stop it. But I do not know whether this was the case with Zweig.

    With Zweig's paper, I believe he did not get the recognition he deserved because the paper was not sent. It is a very unfortunate circumstance. But scientific recognition is not automatic, and it is an imperfect system as we know...