Nobel Prize in physics shared for work that unifies forces of nature | Science News

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Nobel Prize in physics shared for work that unifies forces of nature

Understanding of broken symmetry has been crucial to the standard model of particle physics

7:52am, October 7, 2008

The 2008 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to three theoretical physicists for advances involving the concept of symmetry breaking. The theory highlights how three of the four seemingly disparate forces in nature fall under the same umbrella. The work forms a cornerstone of the standard model of particle physics.

Half of the $1.4 million prize goes to Yoichiro Nambu of the University of Chicago’s Enrico Fermi Institute. He began formulating his mathematical description of a type of symmetry violation, known as spontaneous broken symmetry, as early as 1960.

The other half is shared by Japanese researchers Makoto Kobayashi of the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization in Tsukuba and Toshihide Maskawa of KyotoUniversity’s Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics. Kobayashi and Maskawa discovered the origin of another type of symmetry violation that had been observed but not explained. Their work successfully predicted t

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