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Scientific Values and Civic Virtues$
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Noretta Koertge

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195172256

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195172256.001.0001

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 The Rise and Fall of Emil Konopinski's Theory of β Decay

 The Rise and Fall of Emil Konopinski's Theory of β Decay

Chapter:
(p.120) 8 The Rise and Fall of Emil Konopinski's Theory of β Decay
Source:
Scientific Values and Civic Virtues
Author(s):

Allan Franklin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195172256.003.0009

In 1934, Enrico Fermi proposed a theory of beta decay. Although it was supported by existing experimental evidence, a more detailed examination revealed discrepancies. Emil Konopinski and George Uhlenbeck proposed an alternative theory that better fit the results and was accepted by the physics community. It was later realized that both the experimental results and the experiment-theory comparison were incorrect. When both problems were corrected, in part by the work of Konopinski and Uhlenbeck themselves, Fermi’s theory was supported. As Konopinski publicly stated in a 1943 review article, “Thus, the evidence of the spectra, which has previously comprised the sole support for the K-U theory, now definitely fails to support it”.

Keywords:   physics, beta decay, Emil Konopinski, George Uhlenbeck, Enrico Fermi

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