話說「希格斯玻色子」(Higgs boson) 又被暱稱為「上帝的粒子」,在西方引起很多人的興趣。這暱稱來自美國物理學家「利昂.萊德曼」(Leon Lederman;1988年諾貝爾物理學獎得主)在1993年撰寫的一本書,題為《The God Particle:If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?》(見附圖一),海遠在本文粗略介紹這本書,其內容包括以下各章:

Chapter 1–The Invisible Soccer Ball;
Chapter 2–The First Particle Physicist;
Chapter 3–Looking For The Atom:The Mechanics;
Chapter 4–Still Looking for the Atom:Chemists and Electricians;
Chapter 5–The Naked Atom;
Chapter 6–Accelerators:They Smash Atoms, Don’t They;
Chapter 7–A-tom!;
Chapter 8–The God Particle At Last;及
Chapter 9–Inner Space, Outer Space, and the Time Before Time。

簡單來說,這本書就是介紹「核子物理學」(nuclear physics) 的發展史。

〈Chapter 1–The Invisible Soccer Ball〉這標題是一個很好的比喻。「原子」(atom) 太細小,即使用最强力的顯微鏡也看不到;因此,一切有關「原子」的描述,都是從其他的現象「推測」得來,就好比從遙遠處觀看一場足球賽,察看不到「足球」,僅能憑場內球員的「走位」來推想出足球的存在。

〈Chapter 2–The First Particle Physicist〉這標題是訴說公元前470年古希臘的哲學家「德謨克利特」(Democritus;前460年–前370年或前356年;來自古希臘愛琴海北部海岸的自然派哲學家),他是「原子」概念的始創者。他推想:把任何東西一分為二,再二分為四,這樣不斷分割下去,最終會去到一點,不能再分裂,這點就是「原子」。

〈Chapter 3–Looking For The Atom:The Mechanics〉這章回訴說的是:「伽利略.伽利萊」(Galileo Galile;意大利天文學家);「第谷.布拉赫」(Tycho Brahe;丹麥天文學家);「約翰內斯.開普勒」(Johannes Kepler;德國天文學家);「艾薩克.牛頓」(Isaac Newton;英國物理學家) 等科學家。他們的「宇宙觀」、「日心說」、「太陽系」等概念,成為日後「原子」模型的基礎。

〈Chapter 4–Still Looking for the Atom:Chemists and Electricians〉這章回訴說的是「原子理論的發展」(Development of the Atomic Theory)。這時期的科學家從各種實驗中定出「分子」、「原子」、「元素」等定義,其代表人物列舉如下:

(1)「約瑟夫.普利斯特里」(Joseph Priestly;1733-1804;英國化學家),他發現了「氧氣」(oxygen)。

(2)「安東萬.拉瓦節」(Antoine Lavoisier;1743-1794;法國化學家),他提出「質量守恆定律」(the Law of Conversation of Mass),代表現代化學的開始。

(3)「約翰.道爾頓」(John Dalton;1776-1844;英國化學家、物理學家),他提出「倍比定律」(the Law of Multiple Proportions),直接啟發於1803年發表的「原子理論」(Atomic Theory) 建議。其「原子理論」包括以下幾點–

(a) All matter is composed of atoms;
(b) Atoms cannot be made or destroyed;
(c) All atoms of the same element are identical;
(d) Different elements have different types of atoms;
(e) Chemical reactions occur when atoms are rearranged;
(f) Compounds are formed from atoms of the constituent elements。

(4)「約瑟夫.路易.蓋呂薩克」(Joseph Gay-Lussac;1778–1850;法國化學家和物理學家),他在1808年公佈「氣體反應體積定律」(the Law of Combining Volumes)。

(5)「阿莫迪歐.阿佛加德羅」(Amadeo Avogadro;1776–1856;意大利化學家),他在1811年提出「阿佛加德羅假說」(Avogadro’s Hypothesis)。

(6)「德米特里.門捷列夫」(Dimitri Mendeleev;1834–1907;俄國科學家),他在1869年提出「化學元素的週期性定律」(periodic law) 及第一份的「化學元素週期表」(the first periodic table)。

〈Chapter 5–The Naked Atom:Development of Atomic Structure〉這章回訴說的是原子的模型是如何建立:

(1)「麥可.法拉第」(Michael Faraday;1791–1867;英國物理學家),he contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. He developed the two laws of electrochemistry.

(2)「詹姆斯.馬克士威」(James Clerk Maxwell;1831–1879;英國理論物理學家和數學家),in 1873 he proposed the theory of electromagnetism (電磁學) and made the connection between light and electromagnetic waves.

(3)「威廉.倫琴」(Wilhelm Roentgen;1845–1923;德國物理學家),in 1895 he discovered the x-rays.

(4)「亨利.貝可勒爾」(Henri Becquerel;1852–1908;法國物理學家),in 1896 he discovered radiation by studying the effects of x-rays on photographic film.

(5)「約瑟夫.湯姆生」(J. J. Thomson;1856–1940;英國物理學家),in 1897 he identified the negatively charged electron in the cathode ray tube. He deduced that the electron was a component of all matter and calculated the charge to mass ratio for the electron.

(6)「瑪麗.居禮夫人」(Marie Sklodowska Curie;1867–1934;法國籍波蘭裔女物理學家),in 1898 she discovered radium and polonium and coined the term radioactivity after studying the decay process of uranium and thorium.

(7)「歐尼斯特.盧塞福」(Ernst Rutherford;1871–1937;英國籍紐西蘭裔物理學家),in 1898 he discovered alpha, beta, and gamma rays in radiation.

(8) In 1911 Ernst Rutherford proposed the nuclear atom as the result of the gold-foil experiment. That all of the positive charge and all of the mass of the atom occupied a small volume at the center of the atom and that most of the volume of the atom was empty space occupied by the electrons.

(9)「亨利.莫塞萊」(Henry Moseley;1887–1915;英國物理學家和化學家),in 1913 he rearranged the periodic table by using the atomic number instead of atomic mass to represent the progression of the elements.

(10) In 1914 Henry Moseley wrote “The atomic number of an element is equal to the number of protons in the nucleus".

(11)「弗朗西斯.威廉.阿斯頓」(Francis Aston;1877–1945;英國化學家、物理學家),in 1920 he invented the mass spectrograph. He was the first person to observe isotopes.

(12) In 1920, Ernst Rutherford first referred to the hydrogen nucleus as a proton.

(13)「尼爾斯.玻爾」(Niels Bohr;1885–1962;丹麥物理學家),in 1922 he developed an explanation of atomic structure that underlies regularities of the periodic table of elements. His atomic model had atoms built up of successive orbital shells of electrons.

(14)「詹姆斯.查德威克」(James Chadwick;1891–1974;英國物理學家),in 1932 he discovered a neutral atomic particle with a mass close to a proton and named it「neutron」(中子).

(15)「莉澤.邁特納」(Lise Meitner;1878–1968;奧地利-瑞典女原子物理學家),in 1938 she together with two German chemists 「Otto Hahn」(奧托.哈恩) and 「Fritz Strassman」(弗雷茨.斯特拉斯曼) conducted experiments verifying that heavy elements capture neutrons and form unstable products which undergo fission. This process ejects more neutrons continuing the fission chain reaction.

(16) 「恩里科.費米」(Enrico Fermi;1901–1954;美籍意大利裔物理學家),in 1942 he conducted the first controlled chain reaction releasing energy from the atoms nucleus.

(17) 「曼哈頓計劃」(Manhattan Project;1942–1946),The United States, in an all-out effort for making atomic weapons was begun in late 1942. In July 1945, the first atomic bomb, dubbed “Trinity", was test detonated in the New Mexico desert. It was fueled by plutonium. In August 1945, two more atomic bombs — “Little Boy", a uranium-235 bomb, and “Fat Man", a plutonium bomb — were used against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan surrendered, thus ended World War II.

原子理論本屬尖端物理學的範圍,普通人不會關心,但自從造成「原子彈」之後,原子理論引起很多人的興趣,海遠從互聯網上輯錄以上資料,讀者如有興趣,可到下列網頁查閱:

(1) Historical outline of the 「Atomic Theory and the Structure of the Atom」,網址是–
http://cstl-csm.semo.edu/mcgowan/ch181/atomhist.htm

(2)「Atomic Structure Timeline」,網址是–
http://atomictimeline.net/index.php

稍後,海遠再介紹這本書的其他章節。

備註:本文部份資料,取材自《維基網頁》,謹此鳴謝。

附圖一:《The God Particle:If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?》一書的封面

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