A gift of physics citations for Christmas 2021

A gift of physics citations for Christmas 2021

Stan loved Christmas and he delighted in spoiling us kids. I guess it went back to his own father, but the Rubys always celebrated the joyous holiday, despite its Christian origin. 

But if he would say "Merry Christmas" sincerely in late December, on occasion he used the expression the rest of the year in a sarcastic manner, suggesting perhaps that anti-Semitism could be at play in some situation.

In the spirit of the season, I am announcing today a new feature on Family History Machine for tracking sources and references used in your family history investigations. Of course, it's good research practice to keep a comprehensive bibliography of sources and references, and now FHM offers that.

As a first example of FHM's new Citation feature, I have collected scientific papers that are relevant to the story of The Physics Experiment That Went Wrong. Each citation is complete with metadata, abstract, excerpts and commentary. 

There are upwards of 200 citations in the database, but here I select about a dozen that, for the first time, presents a chronology of events in the 1950s when Stan Ruby experienced some of the most exhilarating high and humbling low moments of his career. 

As you follow the links, you will come to understand something about the relationship Stan had with his academic advisor, Chien-Shiung Wu. Several retrospective references, including a wonderful accounting of Stan's scientific legacy are also included.

I am at work on a storyboard that will lay out the ideas and events in a narrative format, possibly for production as a documentary film. Until that is ready to be shared, and until a search interface is available for the citation database, enjoy this family Christmas gift 2021. 

Although Stan did not talk to us about this episode in his life, I think that he would appreciate that we are now telling his uncensored story. And also that I am finally taking an interest in physics.

Recent Investigation of the Shapes of β-Ray Spectra
Chien-Shiung Wu
Reviews of Modern Physics
October 1950
Wu's invited paper at APS New York 1950 focuses on the prospects for using He6 to determine the form of Gamow-Teller nuclear interactions

The Beta-Spectrum of He6
C. S. Wu, B. M. Rustad, V. Perez-Mendez, and L. Lidofsky
Physical Review
Sep 1, 1952
Used Columbia spectrometer to calculate revised comparative lifetime of He6. Lidofsky became one of Wu's closest colleagues.

Correlation Between Electron and Recoil Nucleus in He6 Decay
Brice M. Rustad and Stanley L. Ruby
Physical Review
Feb 15, 1953
First publication of Rustad-Ruby results. Together with Allen-Jentschke, seen as definitive determination of Tensor coupling in GT interactions

The Fermi Term in Beta-Neutrino Correlation
D. C. Peaslee
Physical Review
Mar 01, 1953
Success of Rustad-Ruby for GT leads to search for similar experiment for F. Peaslee was in the Wu orbit at Columbia and clearly had early knowledge of the Rustad-Ruby results. His letter was submitted before the RR was published. Then the Peaslee letter was published in the very next issue.

Gamow-Teller Interaction in the Decay of He6
B. M. Rustad and S. L. Ruby
Physical Review
Feb 15, 1955
The classic He-6 recoil experiment by Rustad-Ruby (the long version).

Decay of A-41
A. Schwarzschild, B. M. Rustad, and C. S. Wu
Physical Review
Sep 15, 1956
Note the three authors. Rustad remained in the fold before and after the reversal of the Rustad-Ruby experiment. Schwarzchild would later collaborate with Wu on the Critical Examination report.

Experimental Test of Parity Conservation in Beta Decay
C. S. Wu, E. Ambler, R. W. Hayward, D. D. Hoppes, and R. P. Hudson
Wu’s most famous experiment confirmed the Lee-Yang suggestion that parity (left-right symmetry) is not conserved in weak interactions. Another concurrently published experiment by Garwin and Lederman confirmed the theory in meson decays.

Theory of the classical Beta-Decay Measurements
E. J. Konopinski
Proceedings of the Rehovot Conference on Nuclear Structure
Sep 10, 1957
At pivotal Rehovot conference, beta decay theorist E.J. Konopinski frames the experimental conundrum.

Electron-Neutrino Angular Correlation in the Positron Decay of Argon35
W. B. Herrmannsfeldt, D. R. Maxson, P. Stahelin, and J. S. Allen
Physical Review Letters
July 15, 1957
The first experiment with contradictory results from He6. Paper cites Kistner-Schwarzschild-Rustad paper on suitability of A35 for correlation experiment.

A Critical Examination of the He6 Recoil Experiment of Rustad and Ruby
C. S. Wu and A. Schwarzschild
Columbia Univ., New York. Pupin Cyclotron Lab.; Columbia Univ., New York. Pegram Lab
April 21, 1958
Wu repudiates Rustad-Ruby experiment in unpublished CU-173 Columbia University report. Franklin says letter from Wu to Cavanaugh suggests reexamination was done in November.

Beta Decay
C.S. Wu and S.A. Moszkowski
Sep 01, 1966
Wu's readable textbook about Beta Decay includes a historical review, including a more distant recounting of the He6 events

Experiment Right or Wrong
Allan Franklin
Science historian Franklin takes an academic interest in the reversal of the Rustad-Ruby experiment. The first half of the book recounts the history of theory and experiments about beta decay and the weak interaction, including detailed analysis of the Rustad-Ruby experimental error.

CHIEN-SHIUNG WU 29 May 1912-16 February 1997
Leon Lidofsky
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society
Mar 01, 2001
Lidofsky's appreciation of Wu's career does not address the Rustad-Ruby affair, but is nonetheless illuminating.

Scientific legacy of Stanley Ruby
G. K. Shenoy
Hyperfine Interactions
Jan 09, 2007
First presented at the 4th Nassau Mössbauer Symposium, January 2006, and later published in the conference proceedings.

Madame Wu Chien-Shiung The First Lady of Physics Research
Chiang Tsai-Chien and Wong Tang-Fong, translator
Originally published in Chinese in 1996. Stan Ruby was interviewed and is cited as a source. Wu's involvement in the Rustad-Ruby affair is documented.