Tricky wise old man

October 20, 2009

YOUNG MAN. ‘As physicists built bigger and more ambitious machines, they began to find or postulate particles or particle families seemingly without number: muons, pions, hyperons, mesons, K-mesons, Higgs bosons, intermediate vector bosons, baryons, tachyons. Even physicists began to grow a little uncomfortable. “Young man,” Enrico Fermi replied when a student asked him the name of a particular particle, “if I could remember the names of these particles, I would have been a botanist.” ‘

(Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything)