Authorised form of nameGell-Mann; Murray (1929 - 2019)
Other forms of nameMurray Gell-
Other forms of surnameMann
Dates1929 - 2019
Place of birthManhattan, New York, USA
Date of birth15/09/1929
Place of deathSanta Fe, New Mexico, USA
Date of death24/05/2019
Research fieldParticle physics
Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School; Jonathan Edwards College of Yale College, BSc physics (1948); Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), PhD physics (1951)
Postdoctoral fellow, Institute for Advanced Study (1951); visiting research professor, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (1952 - 1953); visiting associate professor, Columbia University (1954 - 1955); associate professor, University of Chicago (1954 - 1955); California Institute of Technology (1955-1993); Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, California Institute of Technology; US President's Science Advisory Committee (1969-1972); John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellow, CERN (1972); Citizen Regent of the Smithsonian Institution (1974- 1988); Director of the J.D. and C.T. MacArthur Foundation (1979 - 2002); President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (1994 - 2001); Distinguished Fellow and co-founder, Santa Fe Institute; Professor of Physics, University of New Mexico; Presidential Professor of Physics and Medicine, University of Southern California
Medals and prizes:
Nobel Prize (Physics) 1969
National Academy of Sciences (1960); American Physical Society; American Academy of Arts and Sciences; American Philosophical Society
Membership categoryForeign Member
Date of election20/04/1978
Age at election48
General contextMurray Gell-Mann was a theoretical physicist who postulated the existence of quarks, the basic constituents of subatomic particles. Working with Richard Feynman, Murray also discovered the chiral — nonsymmetrical and nonreversible — structures of the weak interaction, the force that results when subatomic particles decay. He won the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discoveries concerning elementary particles.

A fundamental constituent of matter, quarks combine to form particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are the protons and neutrons found inside atomic nuclei. Murray developed current algebra, a mathematical tool to predict the symmetry of quark models, which led to the standard theory of elementary particles. Quarks, antiquarks, and gluons are established as the elementary objects in hadron structures.

Murray coined the term ‘quark’ when he referenced the phrase “Three quarks for Muster Mark!” from James Joyce’s 1939 novel, Finnegans Wake. The quark model was independently proposed by physicist George Zweig, who called them ‘aces’, but it was Murray’s name that caught on.

Professor Murray Gell-Mann ForMemRS died on 24 May 2019.
'Murray Gell-Mann – Biographical', Nobel Media AB 2019. Wed. 5 Jun 2019.
Sir Harrie Massey, 'Nuclear Physics Today and in Rutherford's Day' in NR 1972-3 vol 27 pp 25-44
Mariana Cook 'Faces of Science' 2005 pp 62-63
Norman Dombey, 'Murray Gell-Mann obituary' in The Guardian, 2 June 2019 (obituary)
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA3410
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1978/42Gell-Mann, Murray: certificate of election to the Royal Society1978
IM/001628Gell-Mann, Murray1996
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