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Burton Richter

Richter in March 2009
Born March 22, 1931 (age 77)
Brooklyn, New York City
Nationality American
Institutions Stanford University
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
Alma mater MIT
Known for J/ψ meson
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physics (1976)

Burton Richter (born March 22, 1931) is a Nobel Prize-winning American physicist. He led the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) team which co-discovered the J/ψ meson in 1974, alongside the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) team lead by Samuel Ting. This discovery was part of the so-called November Revolution of particle physics. He was the SLAC director from 1984 to 1999.



A native of New York City, Richter was born into a Jewish family in Brooklyn and was raised in the Queens neighborhood of Far Rockaway.[1] He graduated from Far Rockaway High School, a school that also produced fellow laureates Baruch Samuel Blumberg and Richard Feynman.[2] He attended Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania, then continued on to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1952 and his PhD in 1956. He was director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) from 1984 to 1999.

As a professor at Stanford University, Richter built a particle accelerator called SPEAR (Stanford Positron-Electron Asymmetric Ring) with the help of David Ritson and the support of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. With it he led a team that discovered a new subatomic particle he called a ψ (psi). This discovery was also made by the team lead by Samuel Ting at Brookhaven National Laboratory, but he called the particle J. The particle thus became know as the J/ψ meson. Burton and Ting were jointly awarded the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work.

Richter serves on the board of directors of Scientists and Engineers for America, an organization focused on promoting sound science in American government.

In May 2007, he visited Iran and Sharif University of Technology.[3]

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External links

Preceded by
Wolfgang Panofsky
SLAC Director
1984 – 1999
Succeeded by
Jonathan M. Dorfan


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