Google Doodle Today: Celebrating 100th birth anniversary of César Lattes; a Brazilian physicist who discovered pion

  • Google Doodle Today: Google Doodle pays tribute to César Lattes, who was born on this day today, in 1924. He discovered pions, particles heavier than electrons

Written By Sudeshna Ghoshal
Updated11 Jul 2024, 06:49 AM IST
Google Doodle Today: Google Doodle pays tribute to César Lattes
Google Doodle Today: Google Doodle pays tribute to César Lattes

Google Doodle Today: Google Doodle on July 11 is celebrating birthday of Brazilian physicist and teacher César Lattes, who discovered the ‘pion’ or ‘pi meson’. It is a subatomic particle that has a mass 270 times greater than that of an electron.

The animated doodle is paying tribute to the researcher, who was born on this day today, in 1924. The pion’s discovery added to the understanding of advanced nuclear forces.

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Speaking on César Lattes’ discovery, Google Doodle states, “Happy birthday César Lattes, thank you for paving the way for experimental physics in Latin America and around the world!”

The story dates back to when a researcher had brought two photographic plates to the top of a mountain. This was done to get more cosmic rays.

According to the tech giant, the plate that Lattes modified showed tracks from a particle that had never been observed before — the pion. Pions, or also called pi mesons, are smaller than an atom. They form when space matter crashes into Earth’s atmosphere.

Google Doodle states, “Lattes correctly suspected that adding boron to photographic plates would give him a clearer image of particles breaking down. It worked so well, he could see each proton.”

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Not only did Lattes’ uncover the existence of pi mesons, but also found that some mesons are heavier than others. This work won his research team a Nobel Prize in Physics. Shortly after, Lattes became a physics professor at the University of São Paulo and later at the State University of Campinas.

The tech giant further added in its description that Lattes campaigned for more government funding for science. This led to the formation of the CBPF–the Brazilian Centre for Research in Physics, where Lattes was the scientific director. He mentored many students working on their graduate theses in nuclear emulsion (particle detection) and geochronology (rock dating) across Brazil, the United States, and Italy.

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Lattes also received many awards for his advancements in nuclear forces and particle physics, including the Einstein Award from the Brazillian Academy of Sciences and an Order of Merit from Brazil and Italy. There are dozens of schools, roads, and town squares, after his name, added Google. Lattes studied at the University of São Paulo and graduated in 1943 as the only physics major in his class. In his early twenties, he started studying cosmic rays, or high-energy particles from space.

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First Published:11 Jul 2024, 06:49 AM IST
HomeNewsGoogle Doodle Today: Celebrating 100th birth anniversary of César Lattes; a Brazilian physicist who discovered pion

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