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Brazilian Physicist César Lattes Honored on 100th Birth Anniversary for Pioneering Subatomic Particle Discovery



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Google Doodle commemorates the 100th birth anniversary of renowned Brazilian physicist César Lattes, who is celebrated for his groundbreaking discovery of the subatomic particle, pion, today.

On this day in 1924, César Lattes, born in Brazil, made a remarkable contribution to the field of physics with the identification of the pion or pi meson, a particle with a mass 270 times greater than that of an electron.

The animated Google Doodle pays tribute to César Lattes, acknowledging his pivotal role in advancing the understanding of nuclear forces through his discovery of the pion, which deepened scientific insights into subatomic particles.

Lattes’ scientific journey unfolded when he modified photographic plates on a mountain to enhance cosmic ray capture, leading to the revelation of particle tracks previously unseen—ultimately revealing the existence of the pion, a momentous breakthrough in particle physics.

Recognizing the significance of his discovery, César Lattes creatively employed boron in photographic plates, enabling clearer images of particle decay processes and facilitating precise observation of protons, a technique that revolutionized experimental physics.

Following the discovery of the pion, César Lattes and his research team were bestowed with a prestigious prize in Physics, marking a profound recognition of their contributions to the scientific community and cementing Lattes’ legacy as a pioneering physicist.

In addition to his scientific achievements, César Lattes pursued a career in academia, serving as a physics professor at the University of São Paulo and later at the State University of Campinas, where he imparted his knowledge and mentored aspiring physicists.

Driven by a passion for scientific advancement, Lattes advocated for increased government support for research, leading to the establishment of the Brazilian Centre for Research in Physics (CBPF), an institution where he held the position of scientific director, fostering scientific innovation and nurturing a new generation of physicists.

Throughout his illustrious career, César Lattes received numerous accolades for his contributions to nuclear forces and particle physics, including the prestigious Einstein Award from the Brazillian Academy of Sciences, highlighting his enduring impact on the scientific community and beyond.

Rachel Adams

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