A timeline of atomic and subatomic physics.

Early beginnings

In 6th century BCE, Acharya Kanada proposed that all matter must consist of indivisible particles and called them "anu". He proposes examples like ripening of fruit as the change in the number and types of atoms to create newer units.
430 BCE[1] Democritus speculates about fundamental indivisible particles—calls them "atoms"

The beginning of chemistry

1766 Henry Cavendish discovers and studies hydrogen
1778 Carl Scheele and Antoine Lavoisier discover that air is composed mostly of nitrogen and oxygen
1781 Joseph Priestley creates water by igniting hydrogen and oxygen
1800 William Nicholson and Anthony Carlisle use electrolysis to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen
1803 John Dalton introduces atomic ideas into chemistry and states that matter is composed of atoms of different weights
1805 (approximate time) Thomas Young conducts the double-slit experiment with light
1811 Amedeo Avogadro claims that equal volumes of gases should contain equal numbers of molecules
1832 Michael Faraday states his laws of electrolysis
1871 Dmitri Mendeleyev systematically examines the periodic table and predicts the existence of gallium, scandium, and germanium
1873 Johannes van der Waals introduces the idea of weak attractive forces between molecules
1885 Johann Balmer finds a mathematical expression for observed hydrogen line wavelengths
1887 Heinrich Hertz discovers the photoelectric effect
1894 Lord Rayleigh and William Ramsay discover argon by spectroscopically analyzing the gas left over after nitrogen and oxygen are removed from air
1895 William Ramsay discovers terrestrial helium by spectroscopically analyzing gas produced by decaying uranium
1896 Antoine Becquerel discovers the radioactivity of uranium
1896 Pieter Zeeman studies the splitting of sodium D lines when sodium is held in a flame between strong magnetic poles
1897 Emil Wiechert, Walter Kaufmann and J.J. Thomson discover the electron
1898 Marie and Pierre Curie discovered the existence of the radioactive elements radium and polonium in their research of pitchblende
1898 William Ramsay and Morris Travers discover neon, and negatively charged beta particles

The age of quantum mechanics

1887 Heinrich Rudolf Hertz discovers the photoelectric effect that will play a very important role in the development of the quantum theory with Einstein's explanation of this effect in terms of quanta of light
1896 Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovers the X-rays while studying electrons in plasma; scattering X-rays—that were considered as 'waves' of high-energy electromagnetic radiation—Arthur Compton will be able to demonstrate in 1922 the 'particle' aspect of electromagnetic radiation.
1900 Paul Villard discovers gamma-rays while studying uranium decay
1900 Johannes Rydberg refines the expression for observed hydrogen line wavelengths
1900 Max Planck states his quantum hypothesis and blackbody radiation law
1902 Philipp Lenard observes that maximum photoelectron energies are independent of illuminating intensity but depend on frequency
1902 Theodor Svedberg suggests that fluctuations in molecular bombardment cause the Brownian motion
1905 Albert Einstein explains the photoelectric effect
1906 Charles Barkla discovers that each element has a characteristic X-ray and that the degree of penetration of these X-rays is related to the atomic weight of the element
1909 Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden discover large angle deflections of alpha particles by thin metal foils
1909 Ernest Rutherford and Thomas Royds demonstrate that alpha particles are doubly ionized helium atoms
1911 Ernest Rutherford explains the Geiger–Marsden experiment by invoking a nuclear atom model and derives the Rutherford cross section
1911 Jean Perrin proves the existence of atoms and molecules with experimental work to test Einstein's theoretical explanation of Brownian motion
1911 Ștefan Procopiu measures the magnetic dipole moment of the electron
1912 Max von Laue suggests using crystal lattices to diffract X-rays
1912 Walter Friedrich and Paul Knipping diffract X-rays in zinc blende
1913 William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg work out the Bragg condition for strong X-ray reflection
1913 Henry Moseley shows that nuclear charge is the real basis for numbering the elements
1913 Niels Bohr presents his quantum model of the atom[2]
1913 Robert Millikan measures the fundamental unit of electric charge
1913 Johannes Stark demonstrates that strong electric fields will split the Balmer spectral line series of hydrogen
1914 James Franck and Gustav Hertz observe atomic excitation
1914 Ernest Rutherford suggests that the positively charged atomic nucleus contains protons[3]
1915 Arnold Sommerfeld develops a modified Bohr atomic model with elliptic orbits to explain relativistic fine structure
1916 Gilbert N. Lewis and Irving Langmuir formulate an electron shell model of chemical bonding
1917 Albert Einstein introduces the idea of stimulated radiation emission
1918 Ernest Rutherford notices that, when alpha particles were shot into nitrogen gas, his scintillation detectors showed the signatures of hydrogen nuclei.
1921 Alfred Landé introduces the Landé g-factor
1922 Arthur Compton studies X-ray photon scattering by electrons demonstrating the 'particle' aspect of electromagnetic radiation.
1922 Otto Stern and Walther Gerlach show "spin quantization"
1923 Lise Meitner discovers what is now referred to as the Auger process
1924 Louis de Broglie suggests that electrons may have wavelike properties in addition to their 'particle' properties; the wave–particle duality has been later extended to all fermions and bosons.
1924 John Lennard-Jones proposes a semiempirical interatomic force law
1924 Satyendra Bose and Albert Einstein introduce Bose–Einstein statistics
1925 Wolfgang Pauli states the quantum exclusion principle for electrons
1925 George Uhlenbeck and Samuel Goudsmit postulate electron spin
1925 Pierre Auger discovers the Auger process (2 years after Lise Meitner)
1925 Werner Heisenberg, Max Born, and Pascual Jordan formulate quantum matrix mechanics
1926 Erwin Schrödinger states his nonrelativistic quantum wave equation and formulates quantum wave mechanics
1926 Erwin Schrödinger proves that the wave and matrix formulations of quantum theory are mathematically equivalent
1926 Oskar Klein and Walter Gordon state their relativistic quantum wave equation, now the Klein–Gordon equation
1926 Enrico Fermi discovers the spin–statistics connection, for particles that are now called 'fermions', such as the electron (of spin-1/2).
1926 Paul Dirac introduces Fermi–Dirac statistics
1926 Gilbert N. Lewis introduces the term "photon", thought by him to be "the carrier of radiant energy."[4][5]
1927 Clinton Davisson, Lester Germer, and George Paget Thomson confirm the wavelike nature of electrons[6]
1927 Werner Heisenberg states the quantum uncertainty principle
1927 Max Born interprets the probabilistic nature of wavefunctions
1927 Walter Heitler and Fritz London introduce the concepts of valence bond theory and apply it to the hydrogen molecule.
1927 Thomas and Fermi develop the Thomas–Fermi model
1927 Max Born and Robert Oppenheimer introduce the Born–Oppenheimer approximation
1928 Chandrasekhara Raman studies optical photon scattering by electrons
1928 Paul Dirac states his relativistic electron quantum wave equation
1928 Charles G. Darwin and Walter Gordon solve the Dirac equation for a Coulomb potential
1928 Friedrich Hund and Robert S. Mulliken introduce the concept of molecular orbital
1929 Oskar Klein discovers the Klein paradox
1929 Oskar Klein and Yoshio Nishina derive the Klein–Nishina cross section for high energy photon scattering by electrons
1929 Nevill Mott derives the Mott cross section for the Coulomb scattering of relativistic electrons
1930 Paul Dirac introduces electron hole theory
1930 Erwin Schrödinger predicts the zitterbewegung motion
1930 Fritz London explains van der Waals forces as due to the interacting fluctuating dipole moments between molecules
1931 John Lennard-Jones proposes the Lennard-Jones interatomic potential
1931 Irène Joliot-Curie and Frédéric Joliot observe but misinterpret neutron scattering in paraffin
1931 Wolfgang Pauli puts forth the neutrino hypothesis to explain the apparent violation of energy conservation in beta decay
1931 Linus Pauling discovers resonance bonding and uses it to explain the high stability of symmetric planar molecules
1931 Paul Dirac shows that charge quantization can be explained if magnetic monopoles exist
1931 Harold Urey discovers deuterium using evaporation concentration techniques and spectroscopy
1932 John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton split lithium and boron nuclei using proton bombardment
1932 James Chadwick discovers the neutron
1932 Werner Heisenberg presents the proton–neutron model of the nucleus and uses it to explain isotopes
1932 Carl D. Anderson discovers the positron
1933 Ernst Stueckelberg (1932), Lev Landau (1932), and Clarence Zener discover the Landau–Zener transition
1933 Max Delbrück suggests that quantum effects will cause photons to be scattered by an external electric field
1934 Irène Joliot-Curie and Frédéric Joliot bombard aluminium atoms with alpha particles to create artificially radioactive phosphorus-30
1934 Leó Szilárd realizes that nuclear chain reactions may be possible
1934 Enrico Fermi publishes a very successful model of beta decay in which neutrinos were produced.
1934 Lev Landau tells Edward Teller that non-linear molecules may have vibrational modes which remove the degeneracy of an orbitally degenerate state (Jahn–Teller effect)
1934 Enrico Fermi suggests bombarding uranium atoms with neutrons to make a 93 proton element
1934 Pavel Cherenkov reports that light is emitted by relativistic particles traveling in a nonscintillating liquid
1935 Hideki Yukawa presents a theory of the nuclear force and predicts the scalar meson
1935 Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen put forth the EPR paradox
1935 Henry Eyring develops the transition state theory
1935 Niels Bohr presents his analysis of the EPR paradox
1936 Alexandru Proca formulates the relativistic quantum field equations for a massive vector meson of spin-1 as a basis for nuclear forces
1936 Eugene Wigner develops the theory of neutron absorption by atomic nuclei
1936 Hermann Arthur Jahn and Edward Teller present their systematic study of the symmetry types for which the Jahn–Teller effect is expected[7]
1937 Carl Anderson proves experimentally the existence of the pion predicted by Yukawa's theory.
1937 Hans Hellmann finds the Hellmann–Feynman theorem
1937 Seth Neddermeyer, Carl Anderson, J.C. Street, and E.C. Stevenson discover muons using cloud chamber measurements of cosmic rays
1939 Richard Feynman finds the Hellmann–Feynman theorem
1939 Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann bombard uranium salts with thermal neutrons and discover barium among the reaction products
1939 Lise Meitner and Otto Robert Frisch determine that nuclear fission is taking place in the Hahn–Strassmann experiments
1942 Enrico Fermi makes the first controlled nuclear chain reaction
1942 Ernst Stueckelberg introduces the propagator to positron theory and interprets positrons as negative energy electrons moving backwards through spacetime
1943 Sin-Itiro Tomonaga publishes his paper on the basic physical principles of quantum electrodynamics
1947 Willis Lamb and Robert Retherford measure the Lamb–Retherford shift
1947 Cecil Powell, César Lattes, and Giuseppe Occhialini discover the pi meson by studying cosmic ray tracks
1947 Richard Feynman presents his propagator approach to quantum electrodynamics[8]
1948 Hendrik Casimir predicts a rudimentary attractive Casimir force on a parallel plate capacitor
1951 Martin Deutsch discovers positronium
1952 David Bohm propose his interpretation of quantum mechanics
1953 Robert Wilson observes Delbruck scattering of 1.33 MeV gamma-rays by the electric fields of lead nuclei
1953 Charles H. Townes, collaborating with J. P. Gordon, and H. J. Zeiger, builds the first ammonia maser
1954 Chen Ning Yang and Robert Mills investigate a theory of hadronic isospin by demanding local gauge invariance under isotopic spin space rotations, the first non-Abelian gauge theory
1955 Owen Chamberlain, Emilio Segrè, Clyde Wiegand, and Thomas Ypsilantis discover the antiproton
1956 Frederick Reines and Clyde Cowan detect antineutrino
1956 Chen Ning Yang and Tsung Lee propose parity violation by the weak nuclear force
1956 Chien Shiung Wu discovers parity violation by the weak force in decaying cobalt
1957 Gerhart Luders proves the CPT theorem
1957 Richard Feynman, Murray Gell-Mann, Robert Marshak, and E.C.G. Sudarshan propose a vector/axial vector (VA) Lagrangian for weak interactions.[9][10][11][12][13][14]
1958 Marcus Sparnaay experimentally confirms the Casimir effect
1959 Yakir Aharonov and David Bohm predict the Aharonov–Bohm effect
1960 R.G. Chambers experimentally confirms the Aharonov–Bohm effect[15]
1961 Murray Gell-Mann and Yuval Ne'eman discover the Eightfold Way patterns, the SU(3) group
1961 Jeffrey Goldstone considers the breaking of global phase symmetry
1962 Leon Lederman shows that the electron neutrino is distinct from the muon neutrino
1963 Eugene Wigner discovers the fundamental roles played by quantum symmetries in atoms and molecules

The formation and successes of the Standard Model

1964 Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig propose the quark/aces model[16][17]
1964 Peter Higgs considers the breaking of local phase symmetry
1964 John Stewart Bell shows that all local hidden variable theories must satisfy Bell's inequality
1964 Val Fitch and James Cronin observe CP violation by the weak force in the decay of K mesons
1967 Steven Weinberg puts forth his electroweak model of leptons[18][19]
1969 John Clauser, Michael Horne, Abner Shimony and Richard Holt propose a polarization correlation test of Bell's inequality
1970 Sheldon Glashow, John Iliopoulos, and Luciano Maiani propose the charm quark
1971 Gerard 't Hooft shows that the Glashow-Salam-Weinberg electroweak model can be renormalized[20]
1972 Stuart Freedman and John Clauser perform the first polarization correlation test of Bell's inequality
1973 David Politzer and Frank Anthony Wilczek propose the asymptotic freedom of quarks[17]
1974 Burton Richter and Samuel Ting discover the J/ψ particle implying the existence of the charm quark
1974 Robert J. Buenker and Sigrid D. Peyerimhoff introduce the multireference configuration interaction method.
1975 Martin Perl discovers the tau lepton
1977 Steve Herb finds the upsilon resonance implying the existence of the beauty/bottom quark
1982 Alain Aspect, J. Dalibard, and G. Roger perform a polarization correlation test of Bell's inequality that rules out conspiratorial polarizer communication
1983 Carlo Rubbia, Simon van der Meer, and the CERN UA-1 collaboration find the W and Z intermediate vector bosons[21]
1989 The Z intermediate vector boson resonance width indicates three quark-lepton generations
1994 The CERN LEAR Crystal Barrel Experiment justifies the existence of glueballs (exotic meson).
1995 The D0 and CDF experiments at the Fermilab Tevatron discover the top quark.
1998 Super-Kamiokande (Japan) observes evidence for neutrino oscillations, implying that at least one neutrino has mass.
1999 Ahmed Zewail wins the Nobel prize in chemistry for his work on femtochemistry for atoms and molecules.[22]
2001 The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (Canada) confirms the existence of neutrino oscillations.
2005 At the RHIC accelerator of Brookhaven National Laboratory they have created a quark–gluon liquid of very low viscosity, perhaps the quark–gluon plasma
2010 The Large Hadron Collider at CERN begins operation with the primary goal of searching for the Higgs boson.
2012 CERN announces the discovery of a new particle with properties consistent with the Higgs boson of the Standard Model after experiments at the Large Hadron Collider.

Quantum field theories beyond the Standard Model

2000 Steven Weinberg. Supersymmetry and Quantum Gravity.[19][23]
2003 Leonid Vainerman. Quantum groups, Hopf algebras and quantum field applications.[24]
Noncommutative quantum field theory
M.R. Douglas and N. A. Nekrasov (2001) "Noncommutative field theory," Rev. Mod. Phys. 73: 977–1029.
Szabo, R. J. (2003) "Quantum Field Theory on Noncommutative Spaces," Physics Reports 378: 207–99. An expository article on noncommutative quantum field theories.
Noncommutative quantum field theory, see statistics on
Seiberg, N. and E. Witten (1999) "String Theory and Noncommutative Geometry," Journal of High Energy Physics
Sergio Doplicher, Klaus Fredenhagen and John Roberts, Sergio Doplicher, Klaus Fredenhagen, John E. Roberts (1995) The quantum structure of spacetime at the Planck scale and quantum fields," Commun. Math. Phys. 172: 187–220.
Alain Connes (1994) Noncommutative geometry. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-185860-X.
-------- (1995) "Noncommutative geometry and reality", J. Math. Phys. 36: 6194.
-------- (1996) "Gravity coupled with matter and the foundation of noncommutative geometry," Comm. Math. Phys. 155: 109.
-------- (2006) "Noncommutative geometry and physics,"
-------- and M. Marcolli, Noncommutative Geometry: Quantum Fields and Motives. American Mathematical Society (2007).
Chamseddine, A., A. Connes (1996) "The spectral action principle," Comm. Math. Phys. 182: 155.
Chamseddine, A., A. Connes, M. Marcolli (2007) "Gravity and the Standard Model with neutrino mixing," Adv. Theor. Math. Phys. 11: 991.
Jureit, Jan-H., Thomas Krajewski, Thomas Schücker, and Christoph A. Stephan (2007) "On the noncommutative standard model," Acta Phys. Polon. B38: 3181–3202.
Schücker, Thomas (2005) Forces from Connes's geometry. Lecture Notes in Physics 659, Springer.
Noncommutative standard model
Noncommutative geometry

See also

History of subatomic physics
History of quantum mechanics
History of quantum field theory
History of the molecule
History of thermodynamics
History of chemistry
Golden age of physics


Teresi, Dick (2010). Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science. Simon and Schuster. pp. 213–214. ISBN 978-1-4391-2860-2.
Jammer, Max (1966), The conceptual development of quantum mechanics, New York: McGraw-Hill, OCLC 534562
Tivel, David E. (September 2012). Evolution: The Universe, Life, Cultures, Ethnicity, Religion, Science, and Technology. Dorrance Publishing. ISBN 9781434929747.
Gilbert N. Lewis. Letter to the editor of Nature (Vol. 118, Part 2, December 18, 1926, pp. 874–875).
The origin of the word "photon"
The Davisson–Germer experiment, which demonstrates the wave nature of the electron
A. Abragam and B. Bleaney. 1970. Electron Parmagnetic Resonance of Transition Ions, Oxford University Press: Oxford, U.K., p. 911
Feynman, R.P. (2006) [1985]. QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-12575-9.
Richard Feynman; QED. Princeton University Press: Princeton, (1982)
Richard Feynman; Lecture Notes in Physics. Princeton University Press: Princeton, (1986)
Feynman, R.P. (2001) [1964]. The Character of Physical Law. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-56003-8.
Feynman, R.P. (2006) [1985]. QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-12575-9.
Schweber, Silvan S. ; Q.E.D. and the men who made it: Dyson, Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga, Princeton University Press (1994) ISBN 0-691-03327-7
Schwinger, Julian ; Selected Papers on Quantum Electrodynamics, Dover Publications, Inc. (1958) ISBN 0-486-60444-6
*Kleinert, H. (2008). Multivalued Fields in Condensed Matter, Electrodynamics, and Gravitation (PDF). World Scientific. ISBN 978-981-279-170-2.
Yndurain, Francisco Jose ; Quantum Chromodynamics: An Introduction to the Theory of Quarks and Gluons, Springer Verlag, New York, 1983. ISBN 0-387-11752-0
Frank Wilczek (1999) "Quantum field theory", Reviews of Modern Physics 71: S83–S95. Also doi=10.1103/Rev. Mod. Phys. 71.
Weinberg, Steven ; The Quantum Theory of Fields: Foundations (vol. I), Cambridge University Press (1995) ISBN 0-521-55001-7. The first chapter (pp. 1–40) of Weinberg's monumental treatise gives a brief history of Q.F.T., pp. 608.
Weinberg, Steven; The Quantum Theory of Fields: Modern Applications (vol. II), Cambridge University Press:Cambridge, U.K. (1996) ISBN 0-521-55001-7, pp. 489.
* Gerard 't Hooft (2007) "The Conceptual Basis of Quantum Field Theory" in Butterfield, J., and John Earman, eds., Philosophy of Physics, Part A. Elsevier: 661-730.
Pais, Abraham ; Inward Bound: Of Matter & Forces in the Physical World, Oxford University Press (1986) ISBN 0-19-851997-4 Written by a former Einstein assistant at Princeton, this is a beautiful detailed history of modern fundamental physics, from 1895 (discovery of X-rays) to 1983 (discovery of vectors bosons at C.E.R.N.)
"Press Release: The 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry". 12 October 1999. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
Weinberg, Steven; The Quantum Theory of Fields: Supersymmetry (vol. III), Cambridge University Press:Cambridge, U.K. (2000) ISBN 0-521-55002-5, pp. 419.

Leonid Vainerman, editor. 2003. Locally Compact Quantum Groups and Groupoids. Proceed. Theor. Phys. Strassbourg in 2002, Walter de Gruyter: Berlin and New York

External links

Alain Connes official website with downloadable papers.
Alain Connes's Standard Model.
A History of Quantum Mechanics
A Brief History of Quantum Mechanics


Particles in physics

Up (quark antiquark) Down (quark antiquark) Charm (quark antiquark) Strange (quark antiquark) Top (quark antiquark) Bottom (quark antiquark)


Electron Positron Muon Antimuon Tau Antitau Electron neutrino Electron antineutrino Muon neutrino Muon antineutrino Tau neutrino Tau antineutrino


Photon Gluon W and Z bosons


Higgs boson

Ghost fields

Faddeev–Popov ghosts


Gluino Gravitino Photino


Axino Chargino Higgsino Neutralino Sfermion (Stop squark)


Axion Curvaton Dilaton Dual graviton Graviphoton Graviton Inflaton Leptoquark Magnetic monopole Majoron Majorana fermion Dark photon Planck particle Preon Sterile neutrino Tachyon W′ and Z′ bosons X and Y bosons


Proton Antiproton Neutron Antineutron Delta baryon Lambda baryon Sigma baryon Xi baryon Omega baryon


Pion Rho meson Eta and eta prime mesons Phi meson J/psi meson Omega meson Upsilon meson Kaon B meson D meson Quarkonium

Exotic hadrons

Tetraquark Pentaquark


Atomic nuclei Atoms Exotic atoms
Positronium Muonium Tauonium Onia Pionium Superatoms Molecules


Hexaquark Heptaquark Skyrmion


Glueball Theta meson T meson


Mesonic molecule Pomeron Diquark R-hadron


Anyon Davydov soliton Dropleton Exciton Hole Magnon Phonon Plasmaron Plasmon Polariton Polaron Roton Trion


Baryons Mesons Particles Quasiparticles Timeline of particle discoveries


History of subatomic physics
timeline Standard Model
mathematical formulation Subatomic particles Particles Antiparticles Nuclear physics Eightfold way
Quark model Exotic matter Massless particle Relativistic particle Virtual particle Wave–particle duality Particle chauvinism

Wikipedia books

Hadronic Matter Particles of the Standard Model Leptons Quarks

Physics Encyclopedia



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